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Grilled Chicken with Corn & Mozzarella Salad (Hickory Smoked Sea Salt)

The rich, smoky flavor of this grill-roasted chicken is heightened by a sprinkling of hickory smoked sea salt–delicate flakes of premium sea salt that have been naturally smoked over fragrant hickory wood fires. An accompanying vegetable salad that includes creamy mozzarella cheese contrasts nicely with the smokiness of the bird.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken, about 4 lb.
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. hickory smoked sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • Canola oil for grilling
  • 2 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • 1 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 Tbs. roughly torn fresh basil leaves

Directions:

Pull off and discard the fat from around the chicken cavity. Brush the chicken all over with the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Season inside and out with the hickory smoked sea salt and 1⁄2 tsp. of the pepper. Let the chicken stand at room temperature while preparing the grill.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect-heat cooking over high heat. Brush the grill grate with canola oil.

Wrap each ear of corn in aluminum foil. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the cool side of the grill. Place the foil-wrapped corn on the hot side. Cover the grill and cook, turning the corn occasionally, until the kernels are lightly toasted (open the foil to check), about 15 minutes. Transfer the corn to a plate, unwrap the ears and let cool. Cover the grill and continue cooking the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 170°F, about 1 hour more.

Meanwhile, when the corn is cool enough to handle, use a large, sharp knife to cut the ears in half crosswise. One at a time, stand the halves, flat end down, on a cutting board and cut the kernels from the cob. Alternatively, use a kernel cutter.

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, the 1⁄2 tsp. sea salt and the remaining 1⁄4 tsp. pepper. Gradually whisk in the 1⁄4 cup olive oil. Add the corn, cheese, cherry tomatoes and basil and stir gently. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend while the chicken finishes cooking.

Transfer the chicken to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve immediately with the salad. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).