Wednesday Dinner: Yasmin Fahr’s Chicken Souvlaki

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The name Yasmin Fahr has appeared here quite frequently in the past six months. We’ve never met, though she wields tremendous influence over what I make for dinner. Regular readers of Al Dente know of my affinity for Serious Eats, which is where I first came across her work as a recipe developer and food writer. Her work appears on a number of different online food publications, including Food & Wine and The Daily Meal.

What draws me to her recipes are the simplicity and use of fresh produce. I know, a lot of people have easy recipes that utilize fruits and veggies, but there is something more to her work. Rather than load down recipes with tons of aromatics and herbs, her Mediterranean-influenced dishes allow ingredients like tomatoes, leafy greens and citrus fruits to stand out in a dish. Tonight’s chicken soulvaki utilized lemon as the dominant ingredient. This dish typically features meat marinated in a lot of herbs and vinegar. Hers uses mint, oregano and lemon. That’s all.

Simple, right? Effective too.

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What does this all mean? Expect me to bring more of her work to Al Dente HQ.

WHAT WORKED: The simple.

WHAT DIDN’T: Yasmin uses a grill pan. I’ve never had success with grill pans. In the half-dozen or so times I’ve cooked with one, the end result has been a burned mess. A 10-inch skillet did the trick.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: The Wife is on winter break with The Kid, so the conversation at the table was dominated by a telling (and retelling, in the way that only 3-year-olds can) of the day’s events.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Very likely as this would be a perfect summertime thing to do on the grill, pita and all.

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Chicken Soulvaki
Adapted from Yasmin Fahr’s original at The Daily Meal

  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (NOTE: Yasmin uses chicken breasts. They are healthier, I suppose, but thigh meat is tastier.), cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 large pinches of salt
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sprig of mint, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • small palmful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 6 pitas, toasted under the broiler or on the grill
  • Tzatziki sauce (NOTE: I tend to go with store-bought here. Summer Fresh makes a pretty good one. If I have time, I’ll swing by the Mediterranean grocery store near work and get some of their fresh stuff.)

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Whisk lemon juice, salt, oregano, garlic and herbs until well-combined and the salt is dissolved. Add the chicken, toss to coat with the marinade and let stand for 30 minutes.

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Heat a grill pan or large skillet over high heat, and brush with oil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the pan and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, turning halfway. Browning is fine, but the juices should run clear.

Transfer to a serving bowl with any accumulated juices and serve with pita and tzatziki.

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