I recently caught up with Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Cat Cora as she prepares to take her seat as a judge for next month’s Sizzle Showdown in Atlanta, Georgia. She not only had plenty to dish about the competition, but also her favorite Springtime produce and how to pick the best of the bunch!
AM: Spring is here – finally! And we can’t wait to hit the farmers’ markets.
What’s your favorite type of produce this time of year?
CC: I love this time of year for fava beans, baby chioggia & golden beets, asparagus, artichokes, spring onions, green garlic and so much more.
AM: Do you have a special method for picking the perfect fruits and veggies?
CC: I just watch the seasons, look for locally-farmed options and make sure there’s no blemishing. Once that’s covered, then I make my choice according to the best-looking produce.
AM: When you’re not cooking up a storm and entertaining us on TV, what do
you enjoy doing in your downtime?
CC: I love the beach and water, paddle surfing, kayaking. I enjoy doing things that keep me active, like hiking, working out, running and cycling.
AM: Speaking of your busy schedule, The Sizzle Showdown is Saturday, June 8. As a grill judge, what are some of the things that you’ll be looking for in each contestant?
CC: We’ll be looking for the country’s greatest grill chef, so flavor, seasoning, preparation, consistency (juicy or dry), proper cooking temperatures, presentation, originality and grill temperature will all be important factors.
AM: Can you give us some inside dish about the competition?
CC: Six finalists will compete for the coveted title of America’s Greatest Grilling Guru and the chance to win $10,000 along with a trip to the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks!
AM: We’re celebrating American Icons from coast-to-coast this season. What’s your go-to all-American barbecue or picnic dish?
CC: Definitely BBQ ribs of all kinds. I love them!
Well, things are certainly heating up this season! And, if you can’t attend The Sizzle Showdown in person, here’s a look at Chef Cora’s recipe for Chimichurri ‘Cued Chicken, one of the delicious dishes that can be sampled at the event!
Rub the chicken pieces with the pepper. In a small bowl or cup, stir together the orange peel, chili powder, and salt. Rub this mixture evenly over the chicken pieces, then let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high. Oil the grill rack. Place the chicken skin side down on the rack and grill, turning the pieces occasionally for about 20 minutes, or until well browned on all sides and the juices run clear when a thigh or drumstick is pierced. Arrange the chicken on a platter and spoon the chimichurri sauce on top.
To make the chimichurri sauce, combine the garlic, bay leaves, chiles, and salt in a mortar and grind with a pestle until a smooth paste forms. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, put the ingredients in a blender along with 1 teaspoon or so of the vinegar, and process until a paste forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the parsley, oregano, and basil. Whisk in the vinegar and olive oil until well combined. Set aside at room temperature until serving. This sauce is best if used the day it is made, but you can cover and refrigerate it and it will retain its fresh flavor and bright green color for 2 or 3 days.
For more on Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Cat Cora, visit macys.com/culinarycouncil