Spice-Rubbed chicken with mustard-chive sauce

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Spice-Rubbed chicken with mustard-chive sauce
Last week's recipe for the cherry tomato pasta elicited a number of suggestions for additions. An excellent home cook in Michigan adds chopped red onion and kalamata olives. Dr. Judy Lamberti, OB-GYN at Oakland, remembers having diced, fresh mozzarella added when she was in Rome. This week's grilled chicken is probably the best I have ever tasted. The chicken can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated. It's a stretch to connect this to the farmers' market, but it does use chives and tarragon and it goes great with corn on the cob. You probably will have to spend a little time in the spice department at your local grocery store, but it's well worth it.


  • For the chicken
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 Tbsp mild paprika
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 8 large chicken breasts with skin (bad fat) and bones, trimmed of excess fat (really bad fat)
  • For the sauce
  • 1/3 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 -1/4 cups olive oil (good fat)
  • 2 large bunches fresh chives, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped


Grind the coriander, mustard seeds and fennel seeds together. I don't have a spice grinder so I used a food processor and then smashed them in a ziplock bag with a meat mallet and the bottom of a cast iron skillet. Stir in the paprika, pepper and salt. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken breast, making sure that some of the rub gets under the skin. (Grilling with the skin on helps keep the chicken moist. The skin can be removed before using the sauce if you are close to exceeding your 30% daily calories from fat.) Let stand up to 1 hour or overnight, covered in the refrigerator. Whisk the vinegar and mustard together then whisk in the olive oil. Mix in the tarragon and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken, skin side down, until dark, about 5 minutes. Turn it over and cook covered until done, about 15 more minutes. Serve with skin on or off, spooning the sauce over the chicken.