Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chicken Thighs and Olive-Fennel Salad with Grilled Lemon Slices

A little over five weeks ago, I left the job I'd been at for nearly twelve years. I'm still with the same company but I've changed divisions and I now work full-time from home. I've gotta say there are pluses and minuses to working from home. I can work in my slippers. I can make my lunch fresh (and eat it on the deck if my schedule allows). But I am also always within a few feet of my office. I check email at 7 a.m., 7 p.m. and everything in between. But all in all, it suits me.

I do make sure I keep work in the office as much as possible so there is some line between work and play. And I no longer mind those evening calls because I still get to see my little one in between. I don't know who invented working from home, but I think it had to have been a working mom...

As for the job itself, I'm loving it. Some days I'm not sure my teammates are speaking English. I'm in a much more technical group now with people who have decades of expertise in IT. (My boss is a "Distinguished Technologist". Impressive: yes. A bit scary: yes.) They toss out acronyms faster than you can say boo (this morning I googled COBIT), but I'm learning... It's nice to be learning again...

One thing working from home allows me to do is throw meat into a marinade in the morning. (It's the little things that make me happy.) This simple, light recipe is quick, easy and tasty. (Don't be scared off by the fennel, the lemon juice mellows the licorice flavor...)

Chicken Thighs and Olive-Fennel Salad with Grilled Lemon Slices
adapted from Weber's Time to Grill

Prep time: 20 minutes
Marinating time: 1 hour or more
Grilling time: 8 to 10 minutes

1 lemon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Kosher salt

1 small fennel bulb
3/4 cup pitted green olives, cut in half
Zest of 1 lemon, in long, thin shreds
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper

Chicken and marinade:
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each about 4 ounces
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic minced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl combine the lemon slices with the sugar and 1 tablespoon salt. Mix well and let the slices marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Combine marinade ingredients in a large bag and add the chicken, tossing to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

Cut off the thick stalks and the root end from the fennel bulb and discard them. Cut the bulb lengthwise into quarters and then cut away and remove the thick triangular-shaped core. Cut the fennel vertically into ?-inch slices. Put the fennel in a medium bowl and add the remaining salad ingredients, including 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Drain (don’t rinse) the lemon slices and brush them on both sides with oil.

Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the chicken thighs, smooth (skin) side down first, and the lemon slices over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the meat is firm and the juices run clear and the lemon slices are nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove from the grill and let the chicken thighs rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm with the olive salad and lemon slices.

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