We pair the spicy grilled chicken with crunchy & clean fennel salad here. In case fennel doesn’t cater to your taste, you can choose the following vegetables such as radishes, carrots, or cucumbers as an substitute. In a word, any shaved crunchy vegetables will do. The recipe can yield 4 servings in total.  



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1½ lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Kosher salt

2 garlic cloves

3 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)

1 red chile (such as Fresno or Holland), seeds removed, coarsely chopped

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 tsp. finely chopped oregano

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling

2 lemons, halved

Fennel Salad and Assembly

2 medium fennel bulbs, tough outer layers removed, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise

1 small white onion, very thinly sliced into rounds

2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

1 Tbsp. toasted white and/or black sesame seeds




Prepare chicken. Make sure the chicken is dry before you season it with salt. After seasoning please set it aside on a plate. 


Smash garlic, and then add anchovies, chile, and a couple of pinches of salt and continue smashing until a paste forms. You can smash with a mortar and a pestle. Then transfer paste to a large bowl and further add tomato paste, oregano and 3 Tbsp. oil and continue smashing the mixture. Then add chicken and toss it to coat. Remember to let it sit for 1 hour under room temperature. 


Prepare a grill for medium heat. Make sure the grate is clean and lightly oiled. When you grill the chicken, you need to flip once only and cook until it’s lightly charred and cooked through. Normally, it takes 4 minutes per side.  


Grill lemons with the cut side down, until they’re lightly charred and starting to caramelize. Normally, this takes about 4 minutes. Then transfer lemons to a platter. At the same time the chicken can be also transferred to the same platter and let them rest for 5 minutes. 


Toss fennel, onion and vinegar in a medium bowl; drizzle with oil and season with salt. Then toss once more. Thus the fennel salad is done.


Next to chicken mound the fennel salad, and then sprinkle sesame seeds over both. Finally, you squeeze grilled lemons over chicken and fennel salad. Thus the spicy and tasty Grilled Chicken with Crunchy Fennel Salad is ready to be served! Enjoy the dish!



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