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Grilled Salt-and-Pepper Chicken Skewers With Romesco Sauce

Fun and delicious dish for a Labor Day celebration

For most of us, it’s a day off from work and a great excuse to have a backyard barbecue. But in 1894 the first Monday in September was designated Labor Day to pay tribute to working men and women. Why the first Monday? Dead center in the middle of Memorial Day and Thanksgiving.

But it's not only those of us who work hard at jobs who are anticipating a long weekend; the cool girls I chatted up at the West Paces  recently were anxious to have a break from their return to school.

The students were already talking about homework, teachers and the long looking fall ahead before the Thanksgiving break. I asked about plans for eating during the weekend. With the exception of one young coed, who was taking off for a weekend trip with friends, all were celebrating at home with family and friends. Not surprisingly, the grill was featured in every gathering.

I’ll be firing up the Weber, too. Without fail, special house cocktails accompany warm weather cookouts with friends, along with light strawberry-scented rosé and fun craft beers. I always have an assortment of meats and veggies to cook outside, and often ask friends to pitch in with appetizers and dessert. (After all, Monday is about taking a break from Labor!)

Whether you are heading out of town to visit friends and family or stay-cationing in Buckhead for Labor Day, here’s a delicious and healthy recipe to share from the grill:

Salt-and-Pepper Grilled Chicken Skewers with *Romesco Sauce

6 Chicken Thighs

2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Step One  Toss the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Step Two Remove the chicken from the oil and cut each thigh in three pieces. Skewer, and cook on the grill until the juices from the chicken run clear — about 10 minutes, turning only once.

*Romesco Sauce

1 Cup Slivered Almonds

1 (1-inch thick) Slice Rustic Country Bread

½ Cup Sherry Vinegar

2 Roasted Red Peppers

2 TB Tomato Paste

1 TB Lemon Juice

1 TB Sweet Smoked Paprika

½ Tsp each Salt and Black Pepper

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Step One  On a baking sheet, toast the almonds in a 350F oven for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Step Two Cube the bread, and place in a bowl with the vinegar for 30 minutes.

Step Three In a food processor, grind the almonds, add the vinegar and bread, the peppers, tomato paste, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

*Bold, nutty and smoky — Romesco sauce is made with roasted red peppers, almonds and garlic. Originally from Catalonia in Spain, instead of being thickened with flour it calls for bread, a unique “Old World” technique for rich and creamy sauces.

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