Jerk Chicken Kebabs
Josh Herzog, Brighton
Josh Herzog came up with his recipe for Jerk Chicken Kebabs just by pulling together flavors he likes. "I have always loved spicy food," he says, "island-type and Mexican." A counselor at North Andover High School -- he is also the coach for boys' track and, at Methuen High, the girls' diving team -- Herzog lives in Brighton, where he grills out whenever the weather's nice. Judge Adam Ried called the recipe's spiciness "nice, not overwhelming," and judge Kristi Morris liked the chicken's "nice balance" of heat.
1 recipe Jerk Marinade (below)
1½ to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ red bell pepper, cut into 1½-inch pieces
½ yellow bell pepper, cut into 1½-inch pieces
¼ red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ white onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 mangoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 ripe plantains, cut into 1-inch segments
You will need at least 8 skewers. In a large nonreactive bowl, pour marinade over chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
Discard marinade. Clean and oil the grate of a charcoal or gas grill. Light a charcoal fire or preheat the gas grill. Meanwhile, thread all the chicken pieces on 2 or 3 skewers. Thread all the bell pepper and onion pieces together on 2 skewers, all the mango cubes on 2 skewers, and all the plantain segments on 2 skewers.
Over medium-high heat, grill plantain kebabs for about 15 minutes, turning frequently, until the plantain segments begin to turn brown. Grill chicken kebabs, pepper-onion kebabs, and mango kebabs about 10 minutes, turning frequently, until chicken is cooked through and peppers, onions, and mangoes, as well as the plantains, have grill marks. Remove chicken, vegetables, and fruit from skewers, and serve immediately.
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2teaspoons ground sage
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾teaspoon ground cinnamon
2cloves garlic, minced
1teaspoon ground ginger
1/2teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar or molasses
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup olive oil
¾ cup white vinegar
½ cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
1 habanero pepper, seeded if desired to reduce heat
3 scallions, roughly chopped
2 medium white onions (1 cup), roughly chopped
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree.
Marinated Flank Steak
Peter Gerace, Pelham, New Hampshire
A family recipe -- his mother-in-law's "pinwheels," steak-wrapped cherry-tomato kebabs -- was the inspiration for Peter Gerace's flank-steak marinade. The independent fund-raiser for healthcare and education nonprofits in Pelham, New Hampshire, had already developed his own version of the pinwheels marinade when he got interested in making beef jerky. "I took some of those ingredients and added them to the flank steak," he explains -- brown sugar, garlic, white wine. "Probably four or five of the ingredients were my mother-in-law's, and six or eight were mine." Judge Jay Murray complimented the marinade's acidity and sweetness, as well as the flavor of soy sauce. The steak and the third-place Grilled Radicchio Salad "would make a nice summer dinner," he said.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup white wine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 shallots, finely chopped
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
2 pounds flank steak (about 1 inch thick)
In a large nonreactive bowl, place all ingredients except meat, and stir to combine. Add steak, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or as long as overnight.
Discard marinade. Clean and oil the grate of a charcoal or gas grill. Light a charcoal fire or preheat the gas grill. Over medium-high heat, grill meat for 4 or 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove meat from grill and allow to rest, tented with foil, for a few minutes. Slice across the grain, and serve immediately.
Grilled Radicchio Salad
Tom Krueger, Arlington
When Tom and Susan Krueger are at home in Arlington, they often grill out in the evenings and appreciate their gas grill's speed. But when they're at their vacation place in Truro on the Cape, it's another story: "Once I can chill, it's charcoal," he explains. "It is a time issue." Tom says that he does a lot of recipe tweaking and testing, which is how he came up with this salad. Judge Adam Ried remembers "being blown away" when he first learned that lettuces could be grilled. The technique, he said, "accentuates the delicate flavors." Judge Kristi Morris singled out the dressing for its mustard tang. "Tasty," she said.
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste
2 heads radicchio
2 large tomatoes
½ medium sweet onion
In a mortar, pound garlic with salt to make a paste. Transfer to a medium nonreactive bowl and whisk in lemon juice and mustard. Slowly whisk in olive oil and add pepper. Set dressing aside.
Clean and oil the grate of a charcoal or gas grill. Light a charcoal fire or preheat the gas grill. Cut radicchio in half and drizzle cut sides with olive oil. Slice tomatoes into wedges and onion into thin strips and set aside. Over medium-high heat, grill radicchio cut sides down for 5 minutes. Remove and roughly chop grilled radicchio. In a large bowl, toss with tomatoes, onions, and dressing. Serve warm.