Rosemary and paprika grilled chicken

A flavorful make-ahead marinade transforms plain old chicken breast. Forever.

For those of us who have ever stared blankly at the spice drawer, wondering how to make that plain chicken or piece of fish a little more interesting (and ultimately giving up), Chef Floyd Cardoz has come to the rescue. Consider his new cookbook Flavorwalla your guide to spices and herbs 101. Here's an example of his palette prowess with a spices cheat sheet:

Red meatCoriander and black cardamom
PoultryCumin and coriander
PorkCloves, cinnamon and mustard seeds
FishCoriander and fennel
VegetablesCumin and mustard seeds

Focusing on adding flavor this way also carries specific health benefits; coriander, dill, oregano, parsley and rosemary are just some of the herbs and spices that have significant polyphenol loads (scientists think these antioxidants may play a role in disease prevention). Once you get in the habit of cooking with spices, start buying the whole spice and grind as you need for maximum flavor and freshness, just like you'd do with coffee beans (the exceptions being turmeric, cayenne and paprika). Here’s your gateway recipe. You’ll never go back to bland again.

"Excerpted from Floyd Cardoz: Flavorwalla by Floyd Cardoz (Artisan Books). Copyright ©2016. Photographs by Lauren Volo.”


½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp minced shallots
3 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed with a garlic press
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Minced zest and juice of 1 lime or lemon
3 Tbsp sweet paprika
1½ tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 Tbsp black peppercorns, finely ground
¼ tsp cayenne
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut lengthwise into 3 equal pieces
Canola oil
2 limes, cut into wedges
6 to 12 metal or bamboo skewers



In a ziplock bag, shake together olive oil, shallots, garlic, rosemary, zest and juice, paprika, 1½ tsp salt, pepper and cayenne. Add chicken, squeeze out air, re-seal bag and massage to thoroughly coat chicken wiht marinade. Refrigerate for at least 6 but no more than 24 hours.


If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 40 minutes.


If grilling outside, prepare a high-heat grill.


Remove chicken from marinade; if grilling outside, reserve marinade and if cooking inside, discard it. Thread 1 or 2 chicken strips onto each skewer and season with salt.


Place skewers on a lightly oiled grill and brush on some of the marinade, discarding the remainder. Grill until chicken releases easily from the grill and cooked through, turning once, 8 minutes. 


Alternatively, over medium-high heat, heat a lightly oiled stovetop grill pan. Cook chicken until well marked and cooked through, turning halfway, 6 to 8 minutes. 


Serve with lime wedges.