Aleppo Chicken Kebabs, Asparagus with Preserved Lemon, Fried Jambon & Olives

Aleppo Chicken Kebabs:

This recipe was part included part of Steven Raichlen‘s article “A Globe-Trotter’s Guide to BBQ” in an issue of Bon Appétit back in 2009. This recipe was also included in his essential Planet Barbeque cookbook. I’ve deviated just a little by leaving out the tomato paste and using sea salt instead of kosher salt.

1½ tbsp Aleppo pepper
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 unpeeled lemons: 1 thinly sliced into rounds, 1 cut into wedges for serving
1¼ to 1½ lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs – cut into 1½ inch cubes

Place the Aleppo pepper in large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon warm water. Let stand until thick paste forms, about 5 minutes. Add yogurt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, 2 tsp coarse salt, and 1 tsp black pepper to spice mixture in bowl; whisk to blend. Stir in garlic and lemon slices, then chicken. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Can be made one day ahead. Keep chilled.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Thread chicken pieces on metal skewers, dividing equally. Discard marinade in bowl. Sprinkle each skewer with salt, pepper, and additional Aleppo pepper. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning skewers occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer skewers to platter. Surround with lemon wedges and serve.

Asparagus with Preserved Lemon, Fried Jambon & Olives:

This is a dish I’ve trying to replicate from Toro Bravo… I’m hoping the recipe will be in John Gorman’s recently published cookbook.

¼ lb of Niman Ranch Jambon Royale (or some really good smoked ham)
1 lb asparagus
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
⅓ cup of garlic cured green olives, pitted and cut in half lengthways
¼ tsp of preserved lemon, peel only – chopped very fine
1 to 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

Fry up the Jambon Royale in some bacon fat to crisp – sort of like bacon. Set aside. Note: Do not used pressed ham. It will not come out right. I ended up using pancetta this time, since I couldn’t find any ham that was not pressed.

Wash asparagus and snap off hard ends. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Then garlic is fragrant add asparagus tips, cover pan, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Next, add olives and preserved lemon. Cover, and let cook for another 2 minutes. Crumble the fried Jambon Royale and mix in with the rest of the ingredients. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

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For the beer to serve with dinner, I decided to go with a bottle of the Emelie by The Commons Brewery.