Grilling with Greek Oregano
Growing in the garden this week is an abundance of fresh herbs including the usual suspects; parsley, thyme, and tons of basil. However, not every garden has Greek Oregano, and it is so easy to grow year round. It is a member of the mint family and originated in the mountains of Greece. The name means “joy,” and according to Greek Mythology the sweet and spicy scent of Oregano was created by the goddess Aphrodite as a symbol of happiness. In fact ancient Greek bridal couples were crowned with garlands of Oregano.
Its power to heal has been known for centuries. It has bacterial and fungi killing properties. It is used as a pain killer and anti-inflammatory. Oregano tea is a treatment for digestion and coughs.
Greek Oregano has a savory-earthy flavor. Unlike Mexican Oregano, it does not have citrus or licorice flavors. When eating Oregano you want to use dried leaves especially on top of pizzas. Fresh oregano can be too aggressive and pungent for the palate. However, when using it to infuse flavor such as in oils or marinades the fresh leaves are a must. It will add subtle yet complex flavors.
Fresh Greek Oregano is a wonderful herb to use when grilling fish and meats. Chicken thighs always take the back seat, yet they have the most flavor. They are easy to grill and can feed a crowd. With just a few simple ingredient boring chicken can become the main dish. Chicken thighs are light on the pocket book as well as the scale. Think Mediterranean for your next outdoor dinner party, and this recipe will please everyone. Here is an easy recipe for Grilled Greek Chicken.
8 – 10 Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 ½ cups Plain Greek Yogurt – do not use nonfat because it is too watery
- Juice of (1) Lemon
- ¼ cup Dry White Wine
- (2) cloves of Garlic – chopped
- Handful of Fresh Greek Oregano – roughly chopped
- Handful of Fresh Parsley – roughly chopped
- ¼ cup of Olive Oil
- (1) teaspoon of Sea Salt
- Tbl of Fresh Ground Pepper and Paprika
- A few sprigs of Fresh Greek Oregano
- (2) Lemons – cut in half and grilled
Helpful Hint: If you would like a stronger lemon flavor on the chicken grill an additional lemon and squeeze the juice onto the cooked chicken while it is resting.
- Mix all ingredients in large bowl
- Place chicken in bowl and cover
- Marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour
- Be sure to bring the chicken to room temp before grilling
- Gas Grill – Heat grill to medium / high
- Charcoal – Be sure to create hot side and cool side
- Grill thighs on hot side for 3 -4 minutes per side and move to cool side
- Close lid to grill and let finish cooking for another 10 – 15 minutes
- Remove chicken and let rest another 15 – 20 minutes before serving
Serve with rice pilaf or chilled orzo salad, include a mixed salad of baby lettuces with a vinaigrette dressing, and crusty sourdough bread with homemade butter.