In our two-part interview with Haven's Executive Chef, Todd Erickson, we got the lowdown on his short stint at Zuma and found out how it felt to be in charge of the kitchen at the unseasonably young age of 24. Turns out he got his start on the catering side of the food and beverage industry, before moving here to our fair city, a place he never planned to be.
Lucky for us, since we benefit from his creative food flair at Haven. From that steamy cloud of liquid nitrogen that rises up from Erickson's version of ice cream, to what must be the only seaweed salad with kiwi ever seen on a restaurant menu, he pushes new ideas forward.
And here's his usual mix of the unusual, a recipe for something that sounds rather basic, a chicken skewer, but becomes something a little more spicy. He adds an interesting combo of pineapple and cucumber, with scotch bonnet pepper honey (that's a Caribbean pepper, one of the hottest in all the land, so don't touch your face while working with it, and wash your hands repeatedly, seriously).
Jerk Chicken Skewer with Cucumber, Pineapple and Scotch Bonnet Honey
Executive Chef Todd Erickson
Yield: 8 Skewers
Chicken thighs, boneless, skinless 8 each quartered
Red Bell Pepper 2 each
Pineapple, medium dice 2 cups
English cucumber, medium dice 2 cups
Rice vinegar ½ c.
Fresh thyme, chopped 2 T.
Allspice, ground 2 t.
Thyme, dried 2 ½ t.
Black pepper, ground 2 t.
Cayenne pepper ½ t.
Cinnamon ½ t.
Kosher salt ½ t.
Clarified butter ½ c.
Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl and reserve.
Dust chicken pieces liberally with spice mix and store in refrigerator to over night to marinate.
Cut red bell peppers into 1 ½ " squares and reserve 1 piece for each end of each skewer.
Skewer four pieces of chicken thigh meat on each skewer and cap each end with bell pepper.
Combine cucumber, pineapple, fresh thyme, vinegar and olive oil and 1 tsp of jerk seasoning mixture left over from chicken and refrigerate.
Brush each skewer with clarified butter and grill on each side until cooked through. Baste with scotch bonnet honey.
Arrange cucumber-pineapple salsa on platter and top with the frilled skewers.
For the honey:
Clover Honey 2 c.
Scotch Bonnet (or habanero peppers will work), peeled, seeded, brunoise 1 each
Champagne Vinegar ½ cup
Black Pepper fresh ground 1 T.
Shallot Brunoise 2 each
Fresh Thyme, chopped 2 T.
Kosher Salt 1 ½ t.
Butter, clarified 2 T.
Sauté shallots in clarified butter.
Add the pepper, , fresh thyme, salt, pepper and vinegar.
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Add honey bring to a light simmer.
Adjust seasoning with kosher salt.