Monday, May 20, 2013

Spicy chicken thighs with rhubarb-cucumber salsa

I worked three doubles back-to-back last week, so by the time my day off rolled around, I was exhausted. All the stuff I'd pre-cooked for the week was gone, but that was okay, because I had a party to cook for. 

Okay, not really a party, more like friends sitting around eating and drinking wine, but it was still a lot of fun. I thawed some chicken thighs I got at Costco and made this. It was a big hit; I was a little unsure of the rhubarb-cucumber salsa at first (raw rhubarb is kind of weird), but after sitting out for a while, it was actually pretty good. Light, refreshing, crunchy.

1 habanero or two jalapenos, seeded and stemmed
2 garlic cloves
2 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts divided
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
6 large skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch cubes rhubarb
1 cup 1/4-inch cubes unpeeled seeded English hothouse cucumber
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 500°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Pulse chile, garlic, and white parts of scallions in a food processor until finely chopped. With machine running, drizzle in soy sauce, then olive oil; process until emulsion forms. Transfer sauce to a bowl.

Place chicken thighs, skin side up, on a work surface and slash each crosswise at 3/4-inch intervals down to the bone. Season lightly with salt. Place on prepared baking sheet and brush with sauce. Bake until skin is crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 20–25 minutes. Broil on high for an additonal 2–3 minutes for crisper skin, if desired. Let rest for 5–10 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss rhubarb, next 5 ingredients, and green parts of scallions in a medium bowl to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let stand for at least 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Serve chicken with rhubarb salsa alongside.

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