Last night I made one of Hubs’ favorite Persian inspired dishes. It is a take off of Mitra’s Sunshine Kitchen and similar to Joojeh Kebab. I had originally planned to pair it with a green salad. But today was one of those days I just wasn’t in the mood for lettuce…so I switched it out for squash which was handy. And as I’d been making a lot of sautéed veggie and grain side dishes lately, it was time to try something new. I remembered my mother making something similar to this years ago but wasn’t sure how to do it. As is my want…I figured I would make something up to suit my tastes and what was in the fridge. AND I had purchased a bunch of yellow squash and zucchini at the farmer’s market the other day and wanted to use it before it went soft. More on the ribbon salad later.
Sunshine Chicken Kebab:
- 1 chicken breast per person (I used 4)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 table spoon of turmeric
- 1 pinch of saffron…brewed (more on that below)
- a dusting of sumac for each kebab
- salt and pepper
- if you don’t have traditional kebab skewers, you will need two soaked wood skewers per kebab
- 3 yellow squash
- 3 zucchini
- your favorite herbs (I mixed fresh oregano, parsley, basil and thyme) chopped
- 1 cup of frozen or canned roasted corn kernals (or off the cob…your choice)
- feta to taste
- 1 red pepper
- 1/2 yellow onion chopped
- 2 pats of butter, separated
- olive oil
First thing this morning I marinated the chicken. It is usually best to do it overnight but we were out last night so this morning was the closest I could get :). I cut my chicken into one inch chunks (discarding fat and tendons when able), put all of the cut pieces in a bowl and added salt and pepper. Next was a heaping tablespoon of turmeric. I then brewed the saffron (the short version: add a pinch of saffron into a mortor with some salt and grind it until it is a fine powder; steep the ground saffron in a small amount of hot water and stir until it dissolves…the proper way) and spooned it over the chicken. Followed by a cup of plain yogurt, stirred it all up and then covered in plastic and put it in the fridge.
This is also a good time to put the kebab skewers in water. Let them sit in the water all day.
Using my mandolin, after I trimmed the ends, I sliced the squash and zucchini into a heaping bowl of ribbons. For four people I used three of each. I probably could have done one more of each. I put that bowl in the fridge as well as I wasn’t going to cook until later that night.
Fast forward to 6pm and I heated up a teaspoon of olive oil and a pat of butter in a sauté pan. Once sizzling, I added the lot of the ribbons. I gave it a good turn in the fat and then a bit of salt and pepper, letting it sit over low heat.
While this began to cook down, turning from time to time, I put the chunks of chicken on the skewers. I like to double up the skewers so that it is easier to turn on the grill. It ended up being eight kebabs so assume two kebabs per chicken breast. Once the kebabs were put together I sprinkled them with sumac to add a bit of tang to this otherwise savory marinade. (Side note: this is a good time to get the grill ready)
Meanwhile, back at the stove, when the squash begins to get soft, add in the frozen corn (I like the roasted corn from Trader Joe’s). Cook for a minute or two, turning often but gently as the squash is beginning to be soft enough to break, and then add the feta.
In another pan, heat up a teaspoon of olive oil and add the cut onion and cook until soft. While the onion is cooking down, cut the red pepper into strips. Add the peppers to the onions and then chop the herbs and throw them in last. Turn off both pans and go cook the chicken.
Grill the chicken, turning after the first side is beginning to get a nice char. I’m a biiiig fan of an insta-read thermometer and highly recommend never cutting into any meat. Use the insta-read in the thickest piece of meat when both side are charred. It should read 160 as the meat will still cook for a second while it sits before eating.
To finish the salad, add all of the ingredients together and a bit more feta. And voila! Ribbon salad.
Everyone loved it. One of the girls said it tasted like pasta…a big compliment from her. This definitely goes on our “best of the best” list.