Roast Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Mint Salad

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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1/2 cup chopped white onion
5scallions, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 scotch bonnet (habanero) pepper, stemmed
2 Tbsp soy sauce
Fine sea salt
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rack
1 (4-lb) whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving

For the Salad:
3/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 (3 lb) pineapple, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (4 cups)
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp flakey coarse sea salt
20 to 30 fresh mint leaves (2 to 3 sprigs)
2 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal


In a food processor, purée the onion, scallions, garlic, ginger, chile, soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the oil.

Transfer the marinade to a 1-gallon sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces. Seal the bag, pressing out the excess air. Turn the bag over several times to distribute the marinade, then put it into a bowl and chill, turning occasionally, for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day. Let the chicken stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.

Heat the oven to 450ºF with the rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and add an oiled wire rack.

Reserving the marinade, arrange the chicken pieces, skin-side up, in a single layer on the rack. Drizzle with the lime juice and season lightly with salt. Spoon the marinade over and roast until crisped on the edges and cooked through, 50 minutes to 1 hour (tent with foil, if necessary, after 40 minutes).

Meanwhile, make the salad. In a mortar and pestle, or using the heel of your hand on the flat side of a chef’s knife, coarsely crack the peppercorns. In a bowl, combine the pineapple and oil. Crushing it with your fingers, add the salt, then add the pepper and toss to combine. Add the mint and scallion and toss again, then adjust the oil and seasoning, if necessary. Serve with the chicken.

Like all ingredients, hot chile peppers can vary slightly or more so, in intensity, even among the same variety. So any recipe-followed the same way twice-is likely to vary then, too. The bulk of chile heat is in the seeds. In you’re after very hot spice, include more than 1 pepper, though you may want to leave the seeds out if you’re using more than 1. When handling spicy chiles, wear rubber surgical gloves and/or wash your hands very well afterwards. If you prefer milder dishes, make this dish with a less intense chile or with none at all. The complexity of the dish is present, even with out the heat.

Serves 4.