Rosemary Lemon Chicken Skewers

 

This weekend, I went to a new Mediterranean restaurant in West Hollywood called Fig and Olive. It was a real treat for the senses– the restaurant is beautifully designed, with lots of light and open spaces. It’s modern, but warm, with a distinctly Italian feel. Fresh rosemary grows everywhere within the restaurant. Olive oil bottles and barrels line the walls.

Fig and Olive is pricey, but we were celebrating a special occasion so we decided to splurge. I’ve been hearing about it for weeks, so I was excited to give it a try. Every dish on the menu sounded amazing, and I had a difficult time deciding what to order. As we perused our menus, Ryan Seacrest (the host of American Idol) walked by. Swanky! Fig and Olive must be the new “in” spot in Los Angeles. Luckily, we found that the restaurant’s reputation wasn’t just hype– it was truly a pleasure to eat there.

I had the Mediterranean Branzino glazed with fig and 18 yr. old balsamic vinegar, snow peas, fig, and Koroneiki Olive Oil. Delish! Wish I’d remembered my camera so I could show you their beautiful presentation. My friends shared the Fig and Olive Mediterranean Tasting, which included a dish I’ve never seen before– grilled olive oil steak on fresh rosemary skewers. What a fabulous idea! I left the restaurant feeling inspired.

 

From the painting “Ophelia and Laertes” by William Gorman Wills, ca 1880. Ophelia holds a sprig of rosemary in her hand.

Looking into the history of rosemary, I found out some fascinating things. The herb rosemary has been used in Mediterranean cooking for centuries. It is a member of the mint family, an evergreen shrub that thrives in moist environments (hence its Latin name Rosmarinus, or “dew of the sea”). It is one of the most prized culinary herbs, used often in Italian cooking.

In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Ophelia waxes poetic about rosemary as she descends into madness…

There’s Rosemary, that’s for Remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.

Shakespeare might have known something that modern science is just beginning to discover. Recent studies suggest that rosemary may sharpen memory and brain function. Apparently, the ancient Greeks knew it, too– they wore rosemary in their hair to fortify their memory. According to the “Oxford Companion to Food” by Alan Davidson, this association between rosemary and memory has persisted throughout history: “In medieval times, and indeed throughout history, people have tended to attach more importance to the medicinal than to the culinary properties of rosemary… Sir Thomas More… wrote: ‘I lett it runne all over my garden walls, not onelie because my bees love it, but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance and therefore to friendship.”

Rosemary also happens to be an excellent herb to use for grilling. In addition to its delicious flavor, it has been shown to reduce carcinogens and break up cancer-causing compounds that can form when meat is cooked on a smoky grill.

 

This week, I was trying to think of something I could cook up for Memorial Day weekend. The rosemary skewers from Fig and Olive immediately came to mind. I decided to create my own kosher version of the dish. I made it with lemony marinated chicken chunks… lemon and rosemary are a fabulous flavor combination. I also added a little whole grain Dijon to the marinade for kick, along with garlic and a touch of honey. I grilled the skewers directly on the rosemary stem, which infused the meat with even more flavor and aroma. The rosemary skewers looked a little sad after grilling, so I re-skewered them on fresh rosemary for a more beautiful presentation before serving.

The meat turned out wonderful– tender, juicy, and bursting with herby lemon flavor. I added a Dijon Mayonnaise dipping sauce to add another level of deliciousness. The result was truly spectacular. I recommend using a high quality organic mayonnaise for the sauce, it will really improve the flavor. I don’t usually mention brands on my blog, but I have to share that my absolute favorite mayonnaise is Spectrum Organic. So delicious, and OU certified kosher. I could eat it with a spoon, seriously. It’s that good.

With the summer weather and grilling season approaching, these skewers are a fun and easy dish that will wow your guests. They’re kosher, heart-healthy, low carb, and gluten free (with a certified GF mustard/mayonnaise). To stretch these and make a more economical dish, you could alternate chicken chunks on the skewer with your favorite grilling vegetables– zucchini, summer squash, and mushrooms would all work well. A fabulous option to serve at your Memorial Day celebration, or any day!

Note: Don’t marinate the meat for longer than the suggested 2 hours. The acid in the lemon juice will break down the meat. 2 hours is plenty of time to infuse the chicken with fresh, lemony flavor. Enjoy!

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

Organic Olive Oil from Israel

Citrus Juicer

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Rosemary Lemon Chicken Skewers with Dijon Mayo

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb. total)
  • 8 fresh rosemary stems (10-12 inches long each)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard, divided
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper
Prep Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 - 15 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Servings: 4 skewers
Kosher Key: Meat
  • Cut chicken into 1-1 ½ inch chunks. Season lightly with salt and pepper. If using kosher chicken meat, do not add extra salt- the meat has enough saltiness already.
  • Place chicken pieces into a shallow bowl.
  • In a small bowl, pour lemon juice, zest, olive oil, 1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard, honey, garlic and chopped rosemary leaves; mix well.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Rinse and dry the eight rosemary stems, then pull most of the leaves from the stem. Reserve 1-2 inches of leaves at the tip of each stem. These are your skewers.
  • Remove marinated chicken from the refrigerator. Skewer the chicken chunks onto four of the rosemary skewers. Reserve the other four skewers.
  • Grease your grill before preheating to prevent the chicken from sticking. Grill the skewers for 10-15 minutes.
  • Turn the skewers periodically, until the chicken chunks are cooked through and the meat is evenly grilled on the outside. Cut a larger chunk open to check for doneness.
  • When chicken is cooked, un-skewer the chicken chunks from the charred rosemary skewers. Re-skewer them on the fresh rosemary skewers.
  • To make the Dijon Mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise and the remaining ½ tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard in a small bowl; stir well.
  • Serve as a dipping sauce with the grilled chicken skewers.
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Category: Entrees, Gluten Free, Healthy, Meat, Nut Free, Recipes, Slide Show, Tomato Free

Comments (37)Post a Comment

  1. Tiffany says:

    These look so good! Can’t wait to make them.

  2. Larry "The Wizard" Siegfried says:

    :) Great Dish… Thank you for sharing.. But Most of all.. “SHABBAT SHALOM”…..
    link to youtu.be

  3. ilana says:

    Love that trick of reskewering the rosemary, I was trying to see how they could come out looking like that!

  4. Linz says:

    Mm, that seriously sounds delicious! Although, I think my carb-obsessed self would put the chicken over some yummy pasta instead of reskewering.

    • Tori Avey says:

      Tiffany and Linz, hope you enjoy the skewers! Ilana, yes, re-skewering is a must, the charred rosemary just looks too sad (and the fresh rosemary is so lovely!). And Larry– you’re very welcome. ;)

  5. Betty Anastas says:

    How interesting and fun..inspires me to grow some…rosemary

    • Larry Siegfried says:

      Hi naomi newman .. Larry Siegfried The “Wizard” here.. what’s in your Tahini Sauce if I may ask… ? Thank you…

    • Tori Avey says:

      Larry, Naomi’s tahini sauce sounds quite similar to mine. Here’s my tahini sauce blog if you want step-by-step instructions: link to theshiksa.com

    • Tori Avey says:

      Betty, I was thinking the same thing! I’ve really been wanting to start an herb garden, and rosemary is so easy to grow in my neck of the woods. I also want to plant some fresh basil to make pesto. Mmm…

  6. Sheldon says:

    Excellent idea to use the rosemary as skewers. I have a huge rosemary bush and am always looking for ways to use it. I wonder if this would work with some sort of fish? Shabbat Shalom.

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hey Sheldon! It would certainly work with fish, but make sure it’s a dense-fleshed, solid fish that won’t fall apart on the skewer (salmon or halibut might work well). Also, I wouldn’t marinate the fish for longer than 15 minutes, or you could end up cooking it ceviche-style with the acid from the lemon.

  7. naomi newman says:

    I made these skewers for Shabbat and they were succulent and a wonderful blend of savory and slightly sweet. The sauce was a perfect accompaniment. I may also try tahini sauce for a Mediterranean-themed dinner but keep the chicken marinade the same. Delicious recipe!

    • naomi newman says:

      My tahini sauce is comprised of tahini paste, plenty of pressed garlic, lemon juice, water to thin it, and salt. Sometimes I add parsley.

    • Tori Avey says:

      Naomi, so happy you enjoyed the skewers! They’re going to become a regular menu item here in my home, so simple and tasty!

  8. Bridget says:

    This recipe sounds delicious, easy and healthy. I am not a big mayo fan though….do you think greek yougurt could be substitutued for the mayo???

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hey Bridget! I’m assuming you don’t keep kosher, which means you don’t have a problem mixing dairy with meat. I wasn’t sure about Greek yogurt as a sub for the mayo, so I actually went and mixed a little with the whole grain Dijon in the kitchen to see how it tastes. It’s good, but I would cut down the Dijon to 1 tsp to start, and add more if you want more mustard flavor/kick. Add salt to taste. The skewers would also go well with a basic tzaziki sauce. Hope you get a chance to try the recipe!

  9. Gorgeous pics! Thank you so much for sharing and putting so much time into your site. Not something that one sees often!

  10. Bridget says:

    Thank you! I Can’t wait to try it that way! I will let you know how it turns out. I love your blog and recipes!

  11. Charissa says:

    These are so pretty! Love the way you put them on the skewers!

    Thanks for the add on Food Buzz! I love meeting new foodies who have blogs!

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi there Charissa, happy to be your blogging friend! I love that phrase at the top of your blog– “To me, balanced living is chocolate on whole wheat toast.” I think we’re kindred spirits! :)

  12. Marla says:

    Loving your chicken skewers, one of my favorite ways to prepare it!

    Cookin’ Canuck and I would love if you linked up this recipe & any 2 other Entrees in this weeks Get Grillin’ event posted on both of our blogs. We have an awesome Ile De France Cheese giveaway going on. You just need to link up on one site :) link to su.pr

  13. Kelly says:

    Wow these look fantastic!!! I LOVE the rosemary skewers!! Loving your blog and so glad to be your newest follower :) Feel free to check out the giveaway going on over at my blog!

  14. purabi naha says:

    This really looks delish and something I want to try out seriously. You have a great blog and your food photos left me drooling!

  15. Jay says:

    makes me feel hungry..awesome..
    first time here..love your space..
    excellent recipe collection with gorgeous presentation..
    Am your happy subscriber now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  16. Lemon and rosemary are so wonderful together. Great recipe!

  17. flavourful chicken looks wonderfully delicious
    thanks for the add

  18. cakewhiz says:

    your idea of using rosemary stems as skwers is brilliant! i can already imagine how fragrant and tasty these would taste :)

  19. Oh, yes please!! We love chicken, and rosemary is a wonderful addition. Perfect for summer!

  20. Jay says:

    looks divine…good job dear..:)
    Tasty Appetite

  21. Michelle says:

    I’ve been looking for something to do with all this rosemary that I have on hand. This sounds like the perfect way to use it. I really love Mediterranean food and that restaurant sounds amazing–I like that you brought those flavors into the dish.

  22. Karen Lang says:

    I will bbq these along with strip steaks. I think they will make a wonderful appetizer, what a way to being a BBQ party on Sunday. Thanks…

  23. Anna says:

    Hi Tori, loved your chicken it must smell fantastic.And they look great too. I’m also a Shiksa :-) I’m Brazilian and I married a Israeli I met in Australia…I love the middle eastern food, the spices and flavors are fantastic.

  24. michelle says:

    sounds excellent! any side dishes (grains) on your blog that you would suggest with this dish? your site looks like a lot of fun to peruse

  25. Kate says:

    Thanks! Like your site. Made the Rosemary Lemon Chicken last night. It is a keeper! Glad to have something to use rosemary from our huge bushes.

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