sometimes in the course of developing recipes, i come up with something delicious that i want to share with y’all but it’s totally the wrong time of year. for example, i threw together this quick and simple grilled chicken marinade last year on a whim and was pleased to discover that it was totally delicious.
it was also late september. not exactly prime season for debuting new recipes for the grill (even if they are yummy). luckily, i have an effective (if somewhat less-than-streamlined) system for keeping track of recipes that i want to try and recipes that have been tested and are worthy of sharing with my internet friends (that’s you). as to whether or not this “system” involves piles of unorganized recipes that i’ve clipped out of magazines and newspapers… i admit nothing.
anyway, this simple grilled chicken marinade was born one weeknight, right around hungry o’clock, and, besides the taste, that’s one of the best things about this recipe. once you have the ingredients in your fridge (and most of them keep indefinitely), it will nearly take you longer to grab the ingredients and set them on the counter than it will to mix up the quick marinade (check the notes below the recipe for a tip on making fresh ginger less recalcitrant and easier to grate – and also fall into the “keeps nearly indefinitely” category).
so, a simple marinade poured over chicken breasts, which cook pretty quickly on the grill/under the broiler, means dinner can be ready in a snap. i say in the recipe below to marinate the chicken for 20 minutes to 2 hours. what this means is: mix up this marinade and coat the chicken in it first. get the rest of dinner prepped and nearly ready. grill the chicken. enjoy dinner (self-congratulatory inner monologue for getting delicious dinner on the table quickly optional).
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste, see notes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted peanut butter (preferably natural and smooth), see notes
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- 1” fresh ginger, grated, see notes
- 1 lb. (16 oz. / 454 g.) boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed
- mix the miso, peanut butter, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and ginger together in a medium bowl and use a fork to whisk it until the sauce is smooth.
- put the chicken in a resealable bag or shallow dish and cover with the marinade. marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to 2 hours (basically, however long it takes you to get the rest of dinner ready).
- grill or broil (or bake) the chicken until it reaches 165° F in the thickest part of the breast. discard the used marinade.
there are many different kinds of miso paste. i am definitely not an expert (or even really remotely proficient) on all the varieties of miso. when i googled “miso paste”, i found lots of articles from people who know more than me, including this helpful one from food52, which i liked because it shows a picture of the three most common colors (miso is commonly labeled by color in the US).
the paste that i am using is closest in color to the lightest paste in the food52 picture (the white miso). the brand of mine is marukome boy and the label also says “koshi” on it. that term doesn’t appear in this more in-depth article on epicurious, so maybe that word doesn’t add descriptive value (have i proven yet how little i know about miso?). here’s an amazon link to the one that i have, but feel free to use any white miso you find at your local store (perhaps near the tofu? it should be in a refrigerated case).
i know i don’t like as much salt as the average bear but several of the ingredients here are seriously salty (miso, fish sauce, soy sauce) so when possible, i call for (and strongly recommend) the low/no salt version (no salt added peanut butter, reduced sodium soy sauce) since the miso and fish sauce are going to give us pleeeeenty of salt.
grating ginger is 89% easier when you peel the ginger (my oxo peeler is sharp enough to make easy work of this), throw it in an airtight container, and store it in the freezer. grating frozen ginger on a microplane zester is much easier than grating non-frozen ginger on the small holes of a box grater.
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