Fresh Herb and Lemon Marinated Grilled Chicken

A thing I loved about the food when visiting Piedmont was the abundance of fresh herbs. They showed up everywhere. You found them in pastas, pies, salads, sauces, and risottos. It was then that I vowed to use less of the dried stuff, and now I feel so much more accomplished when using fresh herbs at home.

Fresh herbs play a central role in this recipe. Not only are herbs in season, it is a great time of year to invite over friends and throw some chicken on the grill. This recipe comes together quickly and is pretty hands off. Perfect for a summertime backyard (or rooftop) barbecue. The marinade below is enough for one chicken, but is easily adjusted up or down. Feel free to add or subtract herbs to your liking.

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
2 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon (approximately 1 tablespoon)
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
2 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1/2 lemon, sliced
Large pinch of salt and pepper

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the chicken, in a large bowl. Whisk quickly to combine and pour into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the chicken. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours, turning the bag at least twice.

Fire up your grill. Remove the chicken from the bag and shake off any excess marinade. Reserve the lemon slices for grilling as a garnish. Grill the chicken, being careful not to blacken it. Serve on a platter garnished with freshly torn parsley and grilled lemon slices.

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Pass Me a Birra!

Piedmont is well-known for its wines. In fact, the best wines of the region are legendary. But what about beer? Yes, Europe is known for its great beer. Think Ireland, England, Germany, and the Czech Republic. But, how many European countries are known for both great wine and beer? Ok, Germany could be an exception. I love a good Riesling. But, when have you had a nice glass of red from Ireland?  Is it possible for Italy to become a world-renowned producer of both wine and beer? After a few recent tastings, I think the answer is yes, and Piedmont is leading the way.

In the line-up were three beers for three different breweries. First was a lager from Menabrea, a brewery in the town of Biella in northern Piedmont. This pilsner style lager was the most similar to the American lagers that I prefer. Lighter in color and milder in taste. I could get used to drinking this beer. Perfect for a hot summer afternoon.

A bottle of Nora from Birrificio Le Baladin was next. Baladin, located in Piozzo in southwest  Piedmont, is probably the most well-known brewery in Italy, at least to beer snobs. I was excited to open up the unique looking bottle. At $7.80 for a 8.45 oz. bottle, I was hoping it was good. It was. As an ale, it was much darker in color than the Menabrea, and much, much more complex. A lot of flavors going on here (citrus, spicy and woodsy). Though I could enjoy a bottle of this ale here and there, I won’t be picking up a six-pack anytime soon. I’d rather spend that kind of money on a good bottle of wine! I’m a wine snob, not a beer snob.

Baladin

Finally came the Pausa P.I.L.S. from Birrificio Pausa Cafe in Saluzzo. Also brewed in southwest Piedmont, this pilsner style lager suited my tastes. I don’t know enough about beer to understand why I prefer a lager to an ale. I just know that I do. Like the Baladin, this little bottle was pricey, but worth the splurge.  Pausa Cafe not only makes beer, but sells fair trade coffee and cocoa. It sounds like the kind of company that you’d find in Brooklyn. Very hipster-ish. I want to try more of their beer.

Pausa Cafe

Though I have yet to try any of their beer, Birrificio CitaBunda is on my short list of stops for our next trip to Piedmont. Not only is this brewery, bar and restaurant located in Bricco di Neive (my favorite Barbarescos come from Neive), but it is also in an old elementary school. When is the last time you drank beer in an elementary school? How about drinking artisanal Italian beer in an elementary school on a hill overlooking some of the best vineyards in Barbaresco? I’m assuming never. This place is a must do.