Tangy Grilled Chicken | Date Relish

Sumac has a tart flavor that works well sprinkled on fish, chicken, over salad dressings, rice pilaf, or over raw onions. Sumac is considered essential for cooking in much of the Middle East; it has a tart, acidic element and a fruity-tart flavor with a deep red color.




  • 4 pound Organic Chicken, cut lengthwise in half, backbone removed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons ground sumac*
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Date Relish

  • 8 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2/3 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 teaspoons (about) minced seeded de-veined Habanero Chile (from 1 Chile)


  1. Make a paste by smashing the garlic cloves with 1 tsp of salt. Whisk in the lemon juice, oil, and sumac in medium bowl. Season with pepper. Let dressing stand 15 minutes to thicken slightly, whisking occasionally.
  2. Rinse and pat the chicken dry with paper towels; place on large rimmed baking sheet. Using fingertips, loosen skin of the breast meat. Brush some dressing under the skin and onto the breast meat. Brush the chicken all over with the remaining dressing. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
  3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place the chicken, skin side up, on the grill rack. Cover and grill until bottom side is brown, about 15 minutes. Turn chicken over; grill uncovered until skin side browns, about 15-20 minutes longer until cooked through.
  4. Rest the chicken for 10-15 minutes then cut into 6-8 pieces and transfer to a platter. Serve with Date Relish.

Date Relish

  1. Combine all ingredients except habanero chile in medium bowl; toss to blend. Add chile to taste. Season relish to taste with salt. *DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.


Removing the seeds and veins from the super-hot habanero chile tames it a bit. To protect your hands when handling the chile, wear disposable gloves.

Adapted From | Jeanne Thiel Kelley, Martin Kelley


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