Saturday, June 5, 2010
Balsamic Rosemary BBQ Chicken & Grilled Corn with Pesto Butter
This is one of my latest attempts to ‘class-up’ BBQ chicken. Now there’s nothing wrong with BBQ chicken in its everyday state – thick and spicy with a tomato-based sauce. You know, the kind that takes 3 napkins to eat. The problem is that is has a markedly casual connotation – visions of poolside eating while still in your bathing suits. I’m looking for something that feels like it could be eaten indoors, at the table with a knife and fork.
Because this sauce cooks for so long, I didn’t use the good balsamic for the recipe. I save 10-year stuff for use in its straight-out-of-the-bottle form. The balsamic I use for this is the 3-year / $3 per bottle stuff. Besides, the additional flavor components in the sauce are bold in their own right, so it would mask the deep, rich flavor a more expensive balsamic has. Additionally, I used dried rosemary instead of fresh. Make no mistake, I’d much rather use fresh herbs, but it’s one of the financial compromises I’ve had to make. If fresh herbs are in your budget, then use them. But remember that you want to use about 3 times the amount of fresh herbs as you would use dried, so bump the measurement up to 1 tablespoon of chopped, fresh rosemary – instead of 1 teaspoon of dried.
The sauce is thinner than the tomato-based, and has a mouth-feel closer to a glaze than a traditional BBQ sauce. On the other hand, the flavor is a little more adult and gives the illusion that it could be eaten in the dining room, instead of finger food in your bathing suit.
Since I already had the grill fired up, I thought I’d throw some corn on the grill at the same time. There’s nothing like sweet corn with a little char on it. I grew up in Indiana, which is basically the corn capital. Unfortunately, as a child I never had corn that was anything but boiled – and usually overcooked (I can remember corn being on the stove in a big pot of water for 30+ minutes). This is quick and easy – it takes about the same amount of time as the chicken – and infinitely tastier. The sugars get the chance to caramelize and pair with the smoky depth of flavor that comes from cooking over an open flame.
I mentioned in another post that a friend had given me a bunch of basil that I turned into unbelievable pesto. Basil is a wonderful flavor to pair with corn, so I finished up my grilling with a little compound butter to spread over the top. Delicious. I know that serving corn on the cob goes against the concept of a more upscale BBQ, so you could always cut off the corn and place it in a serving bowl before adding the pesto butter.
I hope you enjoy Balsamic Roesmary BBQ Chicken and Grilled Corn with Pesto Butter.
Just as an aside: I’ve developed my own corn husking tricks to remove all of the silks, but I know that there are many others out there. If you’ve got a foolproof one, I’d like to hear about it.