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Summer Charred Tomato Salsa Over Brined Grilled Chicken

Summer Charred Tomato Salsa Over Brined Grilled Chicken

Learn how to Char Tomatoes over a wood fire to make the perfect light Summer Salsa. Brining Chicken Breasts insures a juicy interior.

Here served chunky and loaded with fresh flavor
Sliced Chicken Breasts (which have been brined then grilled) topped with Charred Tomato Salsa and Sourdough Bread for soaking up the juices
Soaking wood chips – and adding them to a V-shaped metal smoking box transforms a gas grill to something special… a smoky essence lingers in the Salsa and Chicken.

Summer Charred Tomato Salsa Over Brined Grilled Chicken


5 medium red tomatoes, ripe but firm (try Heirloom varieties)

1 medium poblano chile pepper, (mild green chile)

3 large fresh garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

a few pinches salt & pepper

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

½ teaspoon pure cane sugar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, cleaned, dried and chopped

1 ½ pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts 



This is not a difficult recipe, yet the technique is important.


Make the Salsa:
Soak wood chips as manufacturers suggest (a few hours on the countertop should do.)
Add to a V-Shaped Metal Smoking Box, tuck under the grates of a gas grill.(No smoking box? – make one! – Add soaked, drained wood chips to a packet of heavy aluminum foil, close packet – puncture with holes.)


Heat grill to high, chips will smoke in about 15 minutes.
Top the grill grate with vegetable grill topper (helps you from food falling into the grill.)


Cut tomatoes in half add to a plate with poblano chile and garlic cloves. Add a few pinches of salt & pepper, rub in. Add all to the grill; tomatoes skin side down, cut side up.


Let them develop color. Let the tomatoes get a good, dark char on the skin side. Turn over, cook cut side down just one minute.
Remove to a clean plate near the grill.


Turn the poblano until blackened all over, remove to the plate.


Cook garlic until charred, and has become a little softened – do not cook in hottest part of the grill, remove to the plate.


Finish the salsa:
Let all cool, chop the tomatoes in large chunks, add to a medium sized bowl.
Scrape the skin off the poblano, discard seeds, chop or cut into long, thin strips – add to bowl.
Peel garlic, thinly slice – add to bowl.
Add sherry vinegar, sugar, 1 T. olive oil, parsley and season liberally with salt and pepper.
Stir well. Leave at room temperature to allow the flavors to meld, at least 15 minutes.


Serve the Charred Tomato Salsa Over Brined, Grilled Chicken Breasts – with Grilled Sourdough Bread* on the side for soaking up the juices.


Other serving suggestions:
Add to warm pasta for a quick meal – top with your favorite fresh herbs.
Use as a topping for Crostini and melt some cheese on top if desired.
A wonderful topping for grilled fish and meats.


Brine and Grill the Chicken:
Add 1 salt, 1 t. pure cane sugar, 2 bay leaves, one sliced garlic clove and a few cloves to a medium sized bowl.
Add 1/4 cup boiling water, stir to dissolve salt and sugar, 1 minute.
Add the chicken breasts and cover with COOL water. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


To Grill:
Remove the chicken breasts with a tong, dry well with paper towels.
Add chicken to a clean plate, drizzle with 1 T. extra virgin olive oil, a few pinches of smoked paprika and sprinkle with some salt and pepper (add a few sprigs of fresh thyme if you have some) – rub in.
Heat grill to medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until the first side has strong grill marks.
Turn over with tongs – turn heat down to medium- low and cook until the chicken is cooked through. Do not over cook.
Brined chicken produces a very juicy interior – you might notice it doesn’t brown as easily as un-brined – so check to make sure you do not over cook.


Let cool slightly, slice chicken and serve Charred Tomato Salsa on top.
Add a ice of grilled Sourdough Bread on the side for soaking up all those juices.


*Hint: the bread can be grilled too! Brush with a smear of olive oil, grill – rub a little raw garlic over the warm bread.

This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.

See BLOG for many more photos and instructions.

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