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Grilled Chicken with Asian Marinated Tomatoes

Best New Chef 2014 Matt McCallister serves his chicken with a fragrant coconut-lime broth and tangy tomatoes marinated with lemongrass and ginger.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • One 2-inch piece of fresh lemongrass with the bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • One 1/2-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek or other Asian chile paste
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Kosher salt
coconut broth
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • One 1-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Thai green curry paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • Eight 6- to 8-ounce boneless chicken thighs with skin, pounded 3/4 inch thick (have your butcher do this)
  • Grapeseed or vegetable oil, for brushing
  • Kosher salt
  • Small basil leaves, for garnish


  1. Marinate the Tomatoes In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the lemongrass, ginger, garlic and cinnamon stick and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof medium bowl, add the vinegar and sambal oelek and let cool completely. Fold in the tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of salt and marinate at room temperature for at least 6 hours. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.
  2. Make the Broth In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the cilantro, ginger and curry paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the ginger is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, coconut milk and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups, about 25 minutes.
  3. Make the Broth Stir the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and kaffir lime into the broth and remove from the heat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, Cook the Chicken Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the chicken with oil and season with salt. Grill skin side down over moderate heat until lightly charred and the skin is crisp, about 7 minutes. Flip the chicken and grill until just cooked through, about 7 minutes longer. Transfer to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, Cook the Chicken Strain the broth through a fine sieve and return it to the saucepan; discard the solids. Bring to a simmer and season with salt. Slice the chicken crosswise 1/2 inch thick and transfer to shallow bowls. Ladle the coconut broth around it and spoon some of the tomatoes and their marinade on top. Garnish with small basil leaves and serve.

Make Ahead

The marinated tomatoes and strained coconut broth can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days. Bring the tomatoes to room temperature and reheat the broth gently before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Lively, tropical fruit-inflected Spanish white.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published July 2014

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