Some time ago the lovely Ivonne, of Creampuffs In Venice, and Lis at La Mia Cucina issued invitations to a grand party, La Festa Al Fresco. Time was running out for me, but I believe I just made it under the wire in time for the festivites. The invitation asks that the guests bring a dish that includes a fresh ingredient from their area, so I decided to use the Chinese eggplants and tomatoes that I harvested from my garden. And the perfect recipe for that is in one of my favorite cookbooks, The Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook. And really, don't you think that Mustards Grill should treat me to a nice meal gratis? I have certainly sung the praises of this cookbook for some time. In any event, do not be dissuaded by the dismal photo of the finished dish, Curry Chicken Skewers With Eggplant Relish and Tomato Chutney Vinaigrette. It's full of flavor and a lot of fun to eat. Since there are so many people coming to the party, I thought they might like a nice skewer to wave around as they talked. There's nothing like pointing a sharp skewer at someone to make your point.
I've had the curry chicken before, but had to forego it this time. I embarked on an experimental two week vegan diet several days ago (more about that on another day). So, much to my husband's delight, no chicken for me. He was able to gorge on curry chicken to his heart's delight.
However, I enjoyed the eggplant relish and tomato chutney vinaigrette on some grilled,
roasted garlic bread. The relish is peppery and smokey tasting, with a creamy texture. In contrast, the
tomato vinaigrette is tart and sweet, with the taste of mustard, cumin, fennel, and fenugreek
seeds added to the mix. Although I didn't have the chicken this time, I know
that it's juicy, with a nice jolt of heat from the curry. All in all, a big mouthful of flavors. And of course--the skewers.
Thanks for the party Ivonne and Lis. I hope you do it every year!
Curry Chicken Skewers With Eggplant Relish and Tomato Chutney Vinaigrette (Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook)
1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (You can also use Chicken Tenders)
1 tablespoon curry paste
1 1/2 rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon soy sauce
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
To marinate the chicken, cut the breast meat crosswise into pieces 2 inches long by 1/2 inch wide. Whisk together the curry paste, vinegar, oil, soy sauce, pepper and salt in a container large enough to hold the chicken. Toss in the chicken strips and stir until they are all covered in the marinade. Put in the fridge for at least one hour or up to one day. After marinating, thread 3 strips of chicken onto an 8 inch skewer, and keep in the fridge until ready to grill.
When you are ready to serve, place the skewers on a medium heat grill and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until done. Place a mound of eggplant relish on a plate, with 2 skewers on top. Drizzle with the tomato vinaigrette and serve.
Tomato Chutney Vinaigrette
1 Tablespoon golden raisins
1 Tablespoon tomato chutney (room temperature)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Whisk together raisins, chutney, vinegar salt and pepper and gradually add the oil. Whisk until emulsified.
3 to 4 Chinese eggplant (lighter blue variety)
pure olive oil for brushing
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons minced parsley
2 Tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
Cut eggplant length wise in half and cut a cross hatch pattern on the exposed flesh. Brush oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on a medium grill, turning once until the eggplant is a nice caramelized color. It should take about one or two minutes per side, depending on how hot the coals are. Cut eggplant into a fine dice.
Whisk together vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper until salt dissolves. Then whisk in the oil until it is emulsified.
Combine the eggplant, scallions, and parsley in a bowl and add the vinaigrette until it is moistened librally. Serve at room temperature