A Taste of South America
A summertime favorite of mine is grilling and dining al fresco. All it takes are the words al fresco and I’m on a little mini vacation. Add to that a South American meal prepared almost entirely outside and I’ve completely tricked myself into believing I’m on a relaxing vacation.
Below you’ll find one of my favorite summer meals with a South American feel, grilled chicken with chimichurri, grilled romaine with cilantro-lime vinaigrette, & roasted corn on the cob. Pair this with a refreshing Paloma cocktail to tie it all together. Enjoy!
Grilled Chicken with Chimichurri
for the chimichurri…
juice of 2 limes
½ cup packed cilantro or half a bunch, stems included
½ cup packed flat leaf parsley or half a bunch, stems included
1 shallot, diced
½ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (optional)
kosher salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped. This can be done by hand, as well, either way works just fine. Set aside while you grill the chicken. This can be made ahead and refrigerated, just return to room temperature before serving.
for the chicken…
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Combine paprika, salt & pepper, set aside 1 teaspoon for your roasted corn. Use the remaining spice mixture to rub the chicken on both sides. Grill your chicken on a clean, oiled grate over a medium-high heat. Grill about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken breast, flipping half-way through. Pull from grill when the internal temperature of chicken reaches 160°, it will rise to 165° while resting.
Top with chimichurri and you’re set!
Grilled Romaine Hearts with Cilantro-lime Vinaigrette
for the vinaigrette…
juice of 1 lime
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup or ½ a bunch packed cilantro
1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
½ teaspoon spicy mustard
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Place all ingredients in your food processor and blend until combined. Drizzle over grilled romaine hearts (see below), or fresh greens, or roasted vegetables, or a toasted baguette, you get the idea.
for the romaine…
2 romaine hearts
¼ cup bread crumbs
½ tablespoon butter
salt & pepper to taste
Place breadcrumbs in a hot skillet over medium high stirring frequently to toast. Once bread crumbs are a golden brown, add the ½ tablespoon of butter and salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
Pull and romaine leaves off that are damaged or falling away from the heart. Cut the romaine heart in half, lengthwise. Place on a hot grill for 1-2 minutes, just to slightly char the cut side. Top with toasted bread crumbs & cilantro-lime vinaigrette.
4 fresh ears of corn, cleaned
1 teaspoon of reserved spice mix from grilled chicken*
*equal parts kosher salt, pepper, and paprika
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided in four
4 squares of foil
Place each cleaned ear of corn on a square of foil. Rub corn with ¼ of the butter and season with ¼ of the spice mix. Wrap the foil around corn and grill for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently.
1 ½ oz tequila
1 ½ oz grapefruit juice
1 ½ oz club soda or seltzer
2 lime wedges
pinch of kosher salt
kosher salt or sugar for glass rim
To coat the rim of your glass, pour your choice of either kosher salt or sugar on a plate. Rub one of the lime wedges along the rim of half of your glass, dip the rim in your salt or sugar, then squeeze the remaining juice from the lime wedge into your glass.
Stir in tequila, grapefruit juice, & soda water. Toss in a pinch of kosher salt & fill with ice. Garnish with your second lime wedge and enjoy!
Now you can sit back, exhale, and enjoy the taste of vacation, at least for a little while.