I think it’s fun to plan a dinner around a specific theme. Not like the crazy tablescape lady on Food Network. I just learned that she is our Governor’s live-in partner! Yikes! She’s probably a nice woman but really, she’s a bit much.
We had some new friends over for dinner last Saturday. Well not really new. Anne and I did business with one another some 20 years ago! She had a creative placement agency. In those days, my company did a lot of package design for a fragrance company called Tsumara. We often needed textile designers to design the background patterns on these packages. Anne supplied me great ones on a freelance basis.
I ran into her recently at a New York Times /AMEX Business Summit. I gave her a LOVE card and she checked out the blog and recognized Ethel and Ethel’s garlic from an earlier post! We discovered our weekend houses are very close to one another. Isn’t that great?
So for our dinner together, I wanted to take them to Greece. We made a grilled Greek chicken recipe that my husband and I used to make all the time after our visits to Santorini. You take a whole chicken and stuff under the skin: slices of tomatoes, covered with dried oregano, sliced onions and thin slices of feta cheese. Grill it with a lemon-based sauce and voila, you’re in Greece. They do this all over Santorini on the street outside of small restaurants and everything is so fresh and good. Serve it with a simple Greek tomato and cucumber salad and you are set. Try it – it’s delicious!!
And grab a little bit of summer one last time.
SANTORINI GRILLED CHICKEN
– serves 4
1 whole chicken – about 3.75 lbs
1 large tomato – sliced 1/8” thick
Feta cheese, sliced 1/8” thick
1 small onion – sliced 1/8” thick
Lemon/garlic basting sauce
Wash and thoroughly dry the chicken. Trim off any excess fat. Refresh it with a half of a lemon, squeezing the juice out all over, inside and out. Pat the chicken dry again. Cut the tomato in 4 or 5 slices. Sprinkle each slice liberally with dried Greek oregano. Carefully, use your fingers to separate the skin from the meat on both sides of the breastbone and on both sides of the backbone. Into each quarter slide one tomato slice, oregano side down, one onion slice and one good slice of feta. If you need to cut a tomato slice or onion slice in half, to fit it all in, do so. If you accidentally tear the skin, use a small skewer to sew up the tear. Salt and pepper the chicken all over to your liking.
Grill the chicken at about 350 degrees, basting with the sauce 3-4 times throughout the cooking time. It should take about 45 minutes.
You could also do this in your oven. Preheat the oven to 550 degrees. Place the chicken in for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and roast for 45 – 50 minutes, basting three times with the lemon garlic sauce during this time, every 15 minutes. Check to see if it’s done with an instant read thermometer. It should register at 155 degrees.
LEMON/GARLIC BASTING SAUCE
1.5 tbs. unsalted butter
2 tbs olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbs. finely minced onion
6 tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
20 grinds of black pepper
¾ tsp. Sriracha sauce
3 tbs. water
In a small saucepan, melt the butter in olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and onion, cover and sweat for 15 – 20 minutes. Check often, stir and do not let it brown, but you want it to be meltingly soft. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the water, stirring well. Raise heat to medium-high and whisk in water. Stir until mixture boils and then remove from heat. This can be made a couple of hours before you’re going to use it. Keep it at room temperature.
– serves 4
2 – 3 large tomatoes, preferably heirloom, cut in large chunks
½ of a large red onion, cut in ½” chunks
1.5 hothouse cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise & cut in 1/2” chunks
1/2 cup Kalamata black olives, pitted, cut in half
Greek feta cheese, crumbled in large pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Fresh ground pepper
Chopped fresh oregano leaves
Place tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, olives and feta cheese in a large bowl. Drizzle with the best olive oil you have and a few splashes of red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with a little salt (the feta will be salty so not too much), fresh pepper and 2/3 of your chopped oregano leaves. Toss lightly to combine. Garnish the top with more oregano leaves.