I have to admit I don’t usually think of citrus as a seasoning, but it is this month’s Spice Rack Challenge ingredient.
I like citrus quite a bit, especially freshly squeezed into my iced tea. Fresh lime juice in a batch of guacamole is a requirement at our house. Lemon-poppy seed muffins are a particular weakness of mine.
My friend Mary, of A Million Grandmas, gave me a jar of her Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Marmalade. [Thank you!!] It is amazing on sourdough toast. But since I’m the only one in my family who eats marmalade on toast—my kids prefer cinnamon-sugar—I worried about using it all before June without overdosing on the yummy thick-cut-peel goodness several mornings per week.
I found my solution by making a glaze for baked chicken. To go with the chicken, I made black bean and corn salad with a lime-based dressing.
Black Bean and Corn Salad with Mexican Lime Vinaigrette
14.5-ounce can black beans or equivalent in cooked, rehydrated dry beans
½ cup cut corn, frozen is fine
1 avocado, diced
1 medium tomato, diced, or about 2/3 of a 14.5-ounce can of diced tomato
1 small red onion, diced
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon salad oil
1 teaspoon ground dried ancho chile pepper, or more to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, seeds removed, minced (optional)
Combine the first five ingredients in a non-metallic bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in another bowl or a salad dressing shaker. Whisk vinaigrette vigorously with a fork or shake to combine. Pour dressing over bean and corn mixture and lightly toss. Chill until ready to serve.
This salad is best made ahead so the flavors can combine. It is usually better the second day than the first. It can easily be doubled or quadrupled, and is a great vegan-friendly potluck dish!
Feel free to use your favorite chili powder in the place of the ground ancho and cumin. I happen to have whole cumin seed in the spice cabinet, which I grind in my mortal and pestle. I urge everyone to try using freshly ground cumin; it's almost a whole different spice than the pre-ground variety.
After grinding spices in a mortar, a good way to clean it is to put kosher salt in the mortar and grind it around. If your recipe happens to need salt, use the salt from cleaning your mortar and pestle. Or, save the resulting flavored salt in an airtight container for a future use. I like to imagine that this is how seasoned salt was invented, but I could be wrong.
Citrus-Herb Glazed Chicken
Combine 1/3 cup marmalade with the juice of half a lemon and a splash or two of vinegar in a small saucepan. Add a heaping teaspoon of dried herbs of your choice. I used balsamic and an American Herbes de Provence blend, one with lavender. Stir over low heat until the marmalade dissolves. Arrange chicken pieces in a lightly oiled baking dish; you should have enough sauce for perhaps four breasts or about eight to ten thighs. I chose to use boneless, skinless breasts for ease. Spoon about half of the warm sauce over the chicken pieces, and bake in a 425-degree oven. About halfway through the cooking time, carefully take the baking dish out of the oven and spoon the remaining sauce over the chicken. Bake until the internal temperature of the chicken is 160 degrees, which will vary depending on the chicken pieces you are using. Allow to rest briefly before eating.
Everyone in my family except my picky eater loved this chicken. It’s an easy and delicious dinner entrée. There were no leftovers at all. If you do manage to have leftovers, they would make dynamite chicken salad with some green onions or minced shallots and diced celery.
If you don’t have a lemon or other citrus on hand to juice, use more vinegar in its place. Try a different flavor combination. Rosemary works especially well with raspberry vinegar, for example. Another option is to use preserves or jelly in place of the marmalade.
For a full meal, perhaps add a green salad and baked sweet potatoes.