Over Memorial Day Weekend, I went to a Oaxacan Goat Roast at the home of my new friends, Sara and Nef. I should make it known here that I basically begged, pleaded and threatened my friend Ilana with friendship excommunication if she did not give me one of her very limited and exclusive tickets to this event. I did this not because I am a mean person but be because I knew I had to be there. I had to be there for purposes other than stuffing my face with chile-rubbed goat smothered in one of Nef’s ten different salsas or any of the other simple, local and simply superb dishes contributed from the bounty of the northeast. I can’t explain it, but I knew I had to be involved. I had to meet Nef and Sara and Sally and fall madly in love with all of them. I had to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning day of (a Sunday no less!) to help rub that goat down, fold him lovingly in agave leaves and lower him slowly into his fiery bed. I needed to spend two days in the sunshine focused on nothing but preparing, cooking and serving a big meal to a big group. I needed to be there from dawn till dusk, from prep thru plating. So when I received the official email from Sally inviting little old me to, “a Memorial Day weekend Oaxacan style-meets-Pioneer Valley spring bounty (and, let’s not forget to mention, Neftali’s birthday) goat roast”, I. Was. ELATED.
I was elated to meet people – Sally and Nef and Sara (the latter whom I know consider my food and food-fun savior) and all of the other chefs, writers, farmers, restaurant owners, brewers and photographers who were involved in the making of that day. I was elated to go to such a beautiful location (Sunderland, MA) for such a beautiful occasion. I was elated to contribute, both in food and in prep, working tirelessly for two days to prepare a feast for 60 people. At the end of the two days, I was less than thrilled to return to New York where I didn’t get to think at all about whether we should leave the horns on the goat for cooking or which platter we should use for serving. I have been thinking about that goat ever since.
And while the goat was amazing and all the other dishes, from watermelon salads to avocado soups to fresh peaches pies, were to die for, my favorite meal of the whole weekend wasn’t the main event but the prep meal we had on Saturday while brining the goat and sorting through what felt like three thousand pounds of dried corn for masita and peeling tamarind for agua fresca. The star was Sara’s chicken – chicken thighs marinated in a paste of miso, almond butter, sriracha and rice vinegar then charred black on the grill. The flavor is savory and nutty and went fabulous with a coat of char-grilled goodness. Served over an avocado and radish salad with grilled asparagus, there isn’t a meal anywhere in the world I would rather eat. Even goat.
Sara’s Miso Chicken
The longer you leave this chicken to marinate the better. I tried this recipe twice, the first time marinating for 2 hours and the second for over 24, and guess which one turned out better? Also, I broiled these instead of grilled because good lord people, the average temp in Phoenix is 112 right now!! Serve with a salad with citrus dressing out wrap up in lettuce leaves with lots of cilantro, sprouts, and more sriracha. Active time: 30 minutes, Inactive time: up to 24 hours; Serves 4-6.
2 tablespoons miso (I used brown rice miso but any kind will work)
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon black vinegar*
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons hot water
2 teaspoons sriracha
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Combine miso though sriracha in a mini blender or bowl and blend / whisk together, adding more water if need be. Marinate should be the consistency of yellow mustard. In a plastic bag or Tupperware, combine chicken thighs and marinate; seal and let sit for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Remove thighs from container, shake off excess marinade and place on baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, flip thighs; broil for another 8 minutes. Remove thighs and serve immediately. Enjoy!
* Substitution – 1:1 vinegar to water.