JERK CHICKEN, ROASTED with PINEAPPLE MINT SALAD
A Bird in the Oven and Then Some
by Mindy Fox
This is a dish that I love in both winter and summer. Its warming sweet spices heat up the cooler months, while its spicy chiles make for perfect summertime picnic fare.
• 1/2 cup chopped white onion
• 5 scallions, roughly chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
• 1 scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• Fine sea salt
• 1½ teaspoons ground allspice
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rack
• 1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
• 3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
• 1 (3-pound) pineapple, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (4 cups)
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon flakey coarse sea salt
• 20 to 30 fresh mint leaves (2 to 3 sprigs)
• 2 scallions, thinly sliced on a long diagonal
In a food processor, puree the onion, scallions, garlic, ginger, chile, soy sauce, 1½ teaspoons salt, allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the oil.
Transfer the marinade to a 1-gallon scalable plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces. Seal the bag, pressing out the excess air. Turn the bag over several times to distribute the marinade, then put it into a bowl and chill, turning occasionally, for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day. Let the chicken stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.
Heat the oven to 450° F with the rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and add an oiled wire rack. Reserving the marinade, arrange the chicken pieces, skin-side up, in a single layer on the rack. Drizzle with the lime juice and season lightly with salt. Spoon the marinade over and roast until crisped on the edges and cooked through, 50 minutes to 1 hour (tent with foil, if necessary, after 40 minutes).
Meanwhile, make the salad. In a mortar and pestle, or using the heel of your hand on the flat side of a chef's knife, coarsely crack the peppercorns. In a bowl, combine the pineapple and oil. Crushing it with your fingers, add the salt, then add the pepper and toss to combine. Add the mint and scallion and toss again; adjust the oil and seasoning, if necessary. Serve with the chicken.
Like all ingredients, hot chile peppers can vary slightly or more so, in intensity, even among the same variety. So any recipe-followed the same way twice-is likely to vary then. too. The bulk of chile heat is in the seeds. In you're after very hot spice, include more than 1 pepper, though you may want to leave the seeds out if you're using more than 1. When handling spicy chiles, wear rubber surgical gloves and/or wash your hands very well afterwards. If you prefer milder dishes, make this dish with a less intense chile or with none at all. The complexity of the dish is present, even with out the heat.