Fra Diavolo – Devil’s Chicken

As most readers of my recipes know I love spicy dishes that have unique twists and this one is no exception. This recipe was adapted from the folks at Torissi Italian Specialties in NYC; if you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s only one of the hottest new spots in Manhattan and a definite must visit.

Serves 4

Guajillo vinaigrette
6 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed, seeded and deveined (*must be soaked overnight*)
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice; yes it makes a difference
1 ½ tsp Sriracha hot sauce
½ tsp chili flakes
S&P to taste

Bread crumbs
1 slice stale white bread, grated
1 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 tsp dried thyme

1 chicken (about 3½ pounds), quartered (you could just use thighs or breasts as well)
S&P to taste
1 cup plain yogurt
Fresh juice from 1 lemon
3 cups arugula(could substitute a multitude of peppery lettuces)

Soak guajillo chilies in warm water and cover overnight (the guajillo pepper has thin, deep-red flesh and has a green tea flavor that is used in a lot of traditional Mexican salsas and pastes, but it isn’t really that hot). 

Guajillo chilies taking a bath - reserve the water to use in rice or pasta dishes to spice them up a bit!

The next day, scrape the chili meat from the skin and chop ½ cup flesh, discarding skin. This can be done using a spoon and applying downward pressure as you scrape on a cutting board.

Guajillo murder scene...

In small saucepan over very low heat, cook garlic in 1 tbsp of EVOO until soft (approx 3 minutes). Remove garlic and mash to a paste (chop and use the back of a large knife to press and scrape the garlic to form a paste); combine with chopped guajillo, ½ cup EVOO, lemon juice, Sriracha, chili flakes and salt and sugar to taste; stir until the mixture is uniform and set aside. Sriracha replaced ketchup in my home a few years back and is a must for any serious cook to have in their pantry!

In small heavy skillet over low heat, cook bread crumbs in butter with garlic and 1 tsp of thyme, stirring occasionally, until golden; discard garlic and set aside. Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill over medium coals (turning frequently) until cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter and let rest 5 minutes. Cut breasts in half and dress with the guajillo vinaigrette.

Mix yogurt with 2 tbsp EVOO, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper to taste; dollop on 4 plates.

Cooling yogurt mix - goes great and really balances the heat!

Mix yogurt with 2 tbsp EVOO, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper to taste; dollop on 4 plates. Arrange 1 piece of chicken on each plate. Toss lettuce with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste; mound on top of chicken and sprinkle with bread crumbs; ladle some more vinaigrette around the base of the yogurt, because it’s just that damn good!

Finished dish...presentation is important


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