I’m happy that Spring is officially here! For most people, sales spring means tulips, blossoming trees, warmer weather and the all-clear to finally fish those flip flops out from under a pile of boots. Spring used to mean all of these things to me, but now I live in Miami. Here, Spring means that the perfect weather is almost gone. That the humidity will rise steadily over the next 6 months, and that soon it will downpour every afternoon.
But it also means that some of my favorite ingredients start popping up at the grocery store again! Asparagus and peas, cherries and stone fruits…Cadbury eggs! It’s also the start of the grilling season. This weekend, I was really craving Greek food. And when I have a craving, I must tame it. I made some quick kebabs with chicken, fennel and red onion. Sprinkled on some salt, pepper and dried oregano, then drizzled my meat on a stick with olive oil and lemon juice.
They were exactly what I wanted. Hearty and flavorful, but not at all heavy. I swear I could eat these every day. I served them with some homemade tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is my favorite Greek condiment and is made from Greek yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt and lemon juice. It’s thick and tangy and the perfect compliment to grilled meats. (Well, that and chimichurri.) I also made a thyme-infused flatbread with chickpea flour, which was delicious, but I had some issues with it sticking to my skillet. I’m going to try again this week and post back with details.
If it’s finally warm enough to grill where you are, then these are for you. If not, then bookmark this recipe for summertime. Either way, whip up a batch of Tzatziki this week. It makes a great spread for lamb burgers or vegetarian pitas.
Grilled Chicken & Fennel Kebabs w/Tzatziki
Serve these alongside some warm pitas or flatbread. These are especially good with thyme & chickpea flour flatbread (Recipe coming soon!).
For the kebabs:
2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 bulbs fennel, top and bottom trimmed, then quartered
1 red onion, cut into large pieces
1 tbsp. coarse salt
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
8 kebab skewers
For the Tzatziki:
7 oz. Greek Yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
1 Kirby (or pickling) cucumber
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
Begin by making your kebabs. Skewer the chicken and alternate with pieces of fennel and red onion. Once your kebabs are all skewered, sprinkle them with the salt, pepper and oregano evenly on all sides, then drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice on all sides.
Preheat your grill to medium-high. Once it’s nice and hot, place your kebabs on the grill so that they are parallel to the front of the grill. Cook them for 5 minutes on all four sides, or until the chicken is cooked through and deep grill lines have formed. Remove to a plate.
Either before you cook the kebabs, or while they’re grilling, make the Tzatziki. Grate the cucumber with a box grater or food processor, then place the shredded cucumber in a paper towel or cheesecloth. Twist the ends of the paper towel together, then squeeze any liquid out of the cucumber.
Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, mash the garlic into a paste. Stir together the yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice and salt.
Serve the kebabs with a big dollop of tzatziki and some warm pitas or flatbread.
Makes 4 servings.