Combine incendiary spices and the backyard grill, and you have the fixings for jerk. Jerk is more than a single recipe, though. It's a way of cooking borrowed from Jamaica that enhances simple cuts of pork, beef or chicken. To make a dish jerk-style, prepare a paste of spices, slather it over the food you're cooking, let it marinate and then grill.
Jerk chicken salad
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Jerk seasoning (recipe follows)
Oil for greasing grill
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1 scallion, trimmed and finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped red or yellow bell pepper
Dressing (recipe follows)
Place chicken breast between two sheets of waxed paper; pound it to ½-inch thickness. Sprinkle chicken with lemon juice. Spread jerk seasoning on a dinner plate, and press chicken into seasoning to coat both sides. Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 2 hours for flavors to penetrate.
Place chicken on greased grid of preheated grill. Grill 6 to 10 minutes on first side; turn over and grill 4 minutes on second side or until cooked through. Remove chicken from grill. Cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside until warm, not piping hot.
Combine chicken, spinach, scallion and bell pepper in a salad bowl. Add dressing just before serving. Toss and serve. Makes 2 servings.
Note: To prepare chicken indoors, place on greased grill pan with ridges. Cook over medium-high heat for 6 to 10 minutes on first side and 4 to 6 minutes on second side.
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 or 3 dashes of cayenne pepper or to taste
Combine allspice, cinnamon, garlic salt, salt, pepper and cayenne in a cup, and mix well.
4 teaspoons canola oil
5 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1½ teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (see note)
Salt and pepper
Combine oil, vinegar, honey and chili powder in a cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.