Spicy Baked Chicken with Rhubarb Salsa
April 9, 2012
Aunt Suzy says . . .
If you’re a regular reader of S&SK, you know that we love rhubarb! We usually bake sweets with it, but this year I want to expand to savory dishes. I saw this recipe about the same time I learned that rhubarb has already come up – a month early given the unbelievably warm March 2012 we’ve had here in Minnesota! I thought I’d give this dish a whirl and it was very tasty. We can log this as Savory Rhubarb Dish #1!
We served this with the Spiced Rice shown and a salad with avocado and oranges. I can’t recommend a wine first hand since we served this with a Pinot Blanc from Alsace and, while not a disaster, it wasn’t the best match. I think favorite Alsace One from Pierre Sparr might do the trick.
This recipe makes 4-6 servings, depending on appetites
The Rhubarb Salsa
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut in 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup unpeeled English hothouse cucumber, 1/4-inch cubes
2 scallions, green parts only, sliced thinly (use white parts below)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon mild honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. (So pretty!)
1 habanero, Scotch bonnet, or Thai chile, with seeds, stemmed
2 garlic cloves
2 scallions, white part only, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs and/or breasts
Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a heavy-duty baking pan with foil. Prepare the spicy sauce by placing the pepper, garlic and scallions in a food processor. Pulse a few times to a fine consistency. Slowly add the soy sauce and then the olive oil, pulsing to form an emulsion. Transfer to a small bowl.
Score the chicken pieces cross-wise with a sharp knife, cutting to the bone about 1-1 1/2 inches apart. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and brush pieces with the sauce, making sure that it gets into the crevices formed from the scoring. Wipe off any excess sauce that pools on the pan. Salt to taste. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 25-30 minutes until juices run clear. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with the salsa as shown.
COOK’S NOTES: The original called for chicken thighs only, which my guy doesn’t like so I made it with breasts as well as thighs. We agreed that if using chicken breasts, it would be good to brine them ahead of time so they would be juicier. It also called for baking the chicken at 500°, which we ended up turning down to 450° because the house became filled with smoke! I think baking at the lower temperature the whole time will yield good results.