Monday, July 1

Weekday Supper: Jean George's spiced pan-asian coconut chicken, made simpler-perfect for warm summer nights

Monday's Weekday Supper
today is a simpler version of Chef Jean George's 
Spiced Chicken Citrus Salad with Coconut, Caramel Sauce
This delicious salad was the appetizer for our recent Pan-Asian dinner Party but hey, it's summer so let's make it the star and main course tonight
I carried these recipes around after taking them straight out of Food & Wine's pages.  Jean George is one of my favorite chefs and I enjoy his elaborate recipes.  Weekday suppers are all about taking a sometimes complicated dish and recipe and making it easy to prepare for a quick and delicious dinner.
Take a glimpse below at my recent Pan-Asian Culinary Dinner Club party.  
We had over six dishes from sips of Saki and a yummy signature cocktail, to this spiced chicken salad, a batch of slow cooked short ribs, roasted Brussel Sprouts with walnuts and ending with homemade profiteroles.  I found most of the recipes, which were designed by Jean George profiled in Food & Wine, and and our dinner club collaborated with each of the eight members making one of the dishes.
It was delicious, and I will post all the recipes in good time, but for now it is July so let's keep it simple.  

Summer months are dedicated to pool parties, beach barbecues, light eating and lots of visits with friends and family.  Let's take this meal down a bit and talk about how to put it together while entertaining pool-side or Al Fresco.  The salad appetizer I served for our dinner could be a meal all by itself in summer.  Served on a warm summer evening, maybe on a screened in porch, and with a cold glass of rose or iced Green Tea, it's fabulous!  Here is Jean George's recipe in Food & Wine magazine.  I added fresh sectioned lime to my recipe to add a bit more color and freshness but for summer I would add in-season fresh cut watermelon instead.  For summer, I'd cut the cilantro straight from my patio garden to keep that summer lightness.  I would, however, keep the spice marinade to balance the sweetness of the coconut caramel sauce and the tangy flavors of the citrus, but I'd omit the cayenne pepper to keep it just a tad lighter for summer.
Pan Asian cooking is fun and the end result is packed with flavor and delicious
but it can be time consuming. 
for our dinner I broke out my vintage singing Saki set -- made in the 1940s, it has lots of charm and cute little bird on top.  When the Saki is warmed up and we pour it the Saki bottle whistles so sweetly -- a party hit! 

To keep it festive, I brought out an exotic blue tablecloth from an Indian vendor during my last visit to Venice Beach, set the table with some interesting touches like bento boxes as place mats and my Chinese dishes. For summer, I'd use a bright, festive tablecloth again, but more casual dishware and maybe pottery or mix and match vintage dishes.  
the combination of sectioned grapefruit, fresh cut up pineapple and a slices of sectioned lime add a citrus-y and fresh base for this delicious salad with many layers of flavors.  Add cubed watermelon instead of lime for summer to give it that extra special summer flavor.  With a bit more fruit and a tad less amount of chicken, the dish becomes lighter.  Without the cayenne and the addition of watermelon it becomes summer light.  

To save on time when entertaining, I have the chicken marinating in the fridge hours before, and I cut up, section my fruit and have it waiting in the fridge in a large covered bowl.  So, while guests are chatting with me in the kitchen, my husband grills the chicken, and I reduce the sauce on the stove top....then it becomes a simple layering of the ingredients on the plate after slicing the chicken on a cutting board.  First, it's the fruit, then place the chicken on top, then drizzle the sauce and finish with fresh cilantro on top!  Finished and pour the wine, and it's Supper.
 cooking down the sugar creates a syrupy flavorful sauce to pour over the salad just before serving.
 This salad has all the components of a great meal -- fruit, protein, veggies and lots of flavors.  It's satisfying and rich, yet it is a salad and can be served room temperature.  I tweaked Jean George's version just a tad to make it slightly less labor intensive for today's story.  So, if you make it please drop me a line to tell me how it turned out.
 topped with fresh cut herbs straight from your summer garden, this will make a perfect summer supper!

Happy Nesting XO