Over the next few years, I think North Americans (and indeed the rest of the world) are going to become more and more interested in the Australian food scene. The best of the new Aussie cooking is stylish and chic, always innovative and yet basically quite simple. Although some indigenous Australian foods can be difficult (if not downright impossible) to acquire, you can still apply their great style to many common ingredients. And where grilling is concerned, there is more to the Aussies than “throwing another shrimp on the barbie” — as good as that is.
Yield: Serves 6
¼ cup (50 mL) balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup (50 mL) olive oil
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 small limes, halved
4 to 6 cups (1 to 1.5 L) fresh arugula, washed and dried
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp (45 mL) balsamic vinegar
Shallow glass or ceramic baking dish
Preheat grill to medium-high.
1. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk to blend ingredients.
2. Lay chicken breasts on large sheet of waxed paper. Cover with another sheet of waxed paper and, using a kitchen mallet, gently pound chicken breasts until they have a uniform thickness of about ¼ inch (5 mm). (The thinner they are, the faster they will cook.)
3. Place chicken in baking dish and cover with marinade. Turn chicken over a few times; cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes.
4. Remove chicken from marinade. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Use tongs to turn chicken breasts. Do not overcook or breasts will be dry.
5. Place lime halves on grill, cut-side down, to cook and caramelize slightly. Arrange arugula on individual serving plates; drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Transfer cooked chicken to cutting board; cut into thick diagonal slices. Remove limes from grill.
6. Arrange cooked chicken on greens. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve with grilled limes alongside.
This recipe captures the easy-yet-edgy appeal of Aussie food — few ingredients, fast cooking and just different enough to be distinctive. Grilling the limes caramelizes them slightly, which provides eye appeal and a lovely citrus element when squeezed over the chicken.