Tangerine Teriyaki Chicken

from Steven Raichlen

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Method: direct grilling

Serves: 4

1 cup fresh tangerine juice (from 3 to 5 tangerines)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
4 strips tangerine zest (each about 1-1/2 by 1/2 inch)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and gently crushed with the side of a cleaver
2 scallions, trimmed, white parts gently crushed with the side of a cleaver, green parts thinly sliced
2 slices fresh ginger (each 1/4 inch thick), peeled and gently crushed with the side of a cleaver
1 cinnamon stick (2 inches long)
2 to 3 tablespoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  1. Place the tangerine juice in a nonreactive saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Let boil until reduced by half. Add the soy sauce, honey, tangerine zest, garlic, scallion whites, ginger, cinnamon stick, and 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil. Let the mixture boil until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

  2. Trim any sinew or excess fat off the chicken breasts and discard. Rinse the breasts under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Place the breasts in a nonreactive baking dish.
  3. Pour half of the tangerine mixture over the chicken, turning to coat both sides. Set the rest of the tangerine mixture aside; you'll use it as a glaze. Let the chicken marinate for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator, covered, turning the breasts once or twice so that they marinate evenly.

  4. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

  5. When ready to cook, drain the marinade from the chicken and discard the marinade. Brush and oil the grill grate. Lightly brush each breast with some of the sesame oil. Arrange the chicken breasts on the hot grate, placing them on a diagonal to the bars. Grill the breasts for 2 minutes, then brush them with more sesame oil and rotate them a quarter turn to create an attractive crosshatch of grill marks. Continue grilling the breasts on that side for 2 minutes longer. Turn the breasts over and grill until cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes longer, again rotating them after 2 minutes. The total cooking time will be 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts. To test for doneness, poke a breast in the thickest part with your finger; it should feel firm to the touch. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, using a clean brush, baste the breasts with the reserved glaze.

  6. Transfer the grilled chicken breasts to plates or a platter and pour any remaining glaze over them. For a fancier presentation, you can slice the chicken breasts crosswise on the diagonal and fan out the slices. Sprinkle the scallion greens and sesame seeds over the chicken and serve.

* Adapted from BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing).