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A simple Grilled Chicken Dinner with Arugula and Warm Chickpeas

         The grill has long since been put away.  But the grill pan does an admirable job of crisping the skin and giving us, if not the real thing, a taste of summer.  In this easy dish that takes under 30 minutes to make, the crispy chicken is pared with the pepper-y bite of arugula and soft warm chickpeas.  It’s also one of those dishes that don’t require a batterie de cuisine to make.  You warm the chickpeas in a skillet with some thyme and red pepper flakes.  You grill the chicken until it’s browned and charred to your liking.  Then you toss the arugula with the chickpeas, some lemon zest and lemon juice and you’re done.  Drizzle the dish with some extra virgin olive oil and your best sea salt and serve.

The recipe came to me from Chris Fischer who is the Chef at The Beach Plum Inn and Restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard.  How he gets time to cook is a mystery.  This 12thgeneration islander also runs his grandfather’s farm.  That does explain how virtually everything served in the restaurant comes from within five miles of the Beach Plum.  If Chris doesn’t grow it or make it, he knows the people who do.  And he has a cooking philosophy that should have great appeal to a lot of us.  He serves food with an eye to “filling up on good, fresh, real food.”   And he rails against chefs “who fill you so full of carbs, you have to go to bed.”

I have a well-known bias for Chicken thighs. The Chicken breast gets all the good press. So you can imagine how pleased I was to read that in fact, there is very little difference in nutritional content. Kevin Rail, a writer for The San Francisco Gate, did an elaborate article on the differences between the two. There is slightly more protein in the breast than in the thigh, about 4 grams more than in a thigh. Then there’s the well-known fact that Breasts do indeed have a lower fat content.  Three ounces of roasted chicken breast have 10 percent of the recommended daily value of total fat whereas the same three ounces of thigh has double that or 20 percent of the recommended daily value.  Think about it:  the breast can permit you to indulge in however you choose to make up the rest of the 90 percent, the thigh 80.  So much for the differences.  The similarities?  They both contain no carbohydrates.  They’re both way under the recommended daily amount of cholesterol.  Their calorie count is 60 for an ounce of breast, 70 for an ounce of thigh meat.  There’s a 10-milligram difference in the sodium content of the thigh.  And finally, when it comes to Iron, the breast comes in at 3 percent of the RDA and the thigh at 6 percent of it.  I think you can pretty much leave the guilt trip behind if you prefer the thigh to the breast.  Besides, this recipe calls for thighs and for good reason: they’re delicious.  Here is the recipe:

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