Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad

4 servings

Sometimes the simplest marinades impart the most flavor.

Here, the pungency of mustard transforms chicken breasts in a matter of minutes. The flavor of the quick-acting marinade is reinforced by a simple vinaigrette that is drizzled over both main and side dish.

Adapted from the June issue of Everyday Food:

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 11/2 pounds)

1 bunch (about 1 pound) asparagus, ends trimmed

1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons mustard. Set aside.

Pat the chicken dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Place it between 2 sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and, using your hand, a skillet or a rolling pin, gently flatten it to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. Add it to the mustard mixture and turn to coat. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the vegetables.

Trim the tough ends from the asparagus. Peel the onion and cut it into 1/2-inch-thick rings. Place the asparagus and onion on a cutting board, platter or plate, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and toss to coat.

You may use a grill, grill pan or broiler on medium-high heat. If using the broiler, line the broiler pan with aluminum foil. Grill or broil the asparagus and onions, turning as necessary, until tender and just barely charred at the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter or individual plates.

Transfer the chicken to the grill or pan, discarding any excess marinade. Grill or broil the chicken, turning once, until cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon mustard, salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, thinly slice the chicken and arrange the slices on the platter or plates. Drizzle the vegetables and chicken with mustard vinaigrette.

Per serving: 286 calories, 31 gm protein, 6 gm carbohydrates, 16 gm fat, 68 mg cholesterol, 2 gm saturated fat, 304 mg sodium, 3 gm dietary fiber

-- Renee Schettler

Try Them On . . .

Since 1948, Anton Kozlik's Canadian Mustard has pleased palates north of the border with its distinctive line of old-fashioned mustards. Twelve flavors are now stateside ($5.99 per 250-milliliter jar).

Each variety has a distinct mustard tang. We particularly liked the Italian Mostarda on cold cuts and grilled sausages, the new dimension that the Triple Crunch brought to a vinaigrette, and the all-purpose Bordeaux on just about everything.

Anton Kozlik's Canadian Mustards are available locally at Chevy Chase Supermarket (8531 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase; call 301-656-5133), Rodman's (5100 Wisconsin Ave. NW; call 202-363-3466), Roots Market (5805 Clarksville Square Dr., Clarksville, Md.; call 443-535-9321) and Whole Foods Markets. The mustards are also available by mail order from Natural Group; call 209-522-6860 or see www.naturalgroup.net.

For more information and recipes, see www.mustardmaker.com.

No Glugs

Traditional olive oil bottles with spouts are long on charm and convenience, thanks to the reach-and-pour mentality that ends fumbling with screw-top caps.

This same ease also can be achieved with most standard 750-milliliter bottles of oil. Just yank out the plastic inside the neck and plunk in a pour spout.

Conventional spouts, typically made of cork and metal, are common and go by a variety of names, including plain old "pourer." But you may want what bartenders refer to as a speed pourer, which is made with ball bearings to ensure a smooth, measured pour rather than an unpredictable glug.

(Pour spouts work on most 750-milliliter glass bottles; some plastic bottles or smaller bottles are not a good fit.)

Metal pour spouts, also known as pourers, are available at many kitchen and liquor stores for about $2. We found the one pictured above (on the right) at Williams-Sonoma for $7.95.

Book Report

* Meal by Meal: 365 Daily Meditations for Finding Balance Through Mindful Eating

By Donald Altman, Inner Ocean, $14

We turn to others -- doctors, nutritionists, fad diets and spas -- in our efforts to eat sanely and stay thin. But we rarely turn inward, to our own minds. This book provides a calendar year of day-by-day meditations on the meaning of food: sharing it, preparing it, worrying about it, fearing it. It has treacly entries but sound and inspirational ones, too. Will reading take the pounds off? It can't hurt to try.

-- Jeanne McManus


We've heard about the perils of cross- contaminating kitchen surfaces with sponges and using the same plate and grilling utensils for both raw and cooked meat. But sometimes we could use a reminder about other food safety basics.

This Web site, from the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods Foundation, recalls the proper temperature of a fridge (below 40 degrees), the risk of raw sprouts (to be safe, cook them or avoid them), the danger of snitching raw cookie dough (no matter how tempting) and exactly how long perishable foods can sit at room temperature (two hours maximum -- pizza included).


An occasional On the Fridge guide for food names

Swiss chard -- Spinach beet

Jicama -- Mexican potato

Salsify -- Oyster plant

Jerusalem artichoke -- Girasole

Chanterelle -- Girolle

Arugula -- Rocket

Allspice -- Jamaican pepper

Star fruit -- Carambola

Lima bean -- Madagascar bean

Today's Tip

While preparing a meal, place a big bowl on the counter. As you cut, chop and peel, place all of the tough ends, peelings and other discards into the bowl. This allows you to make only one trip to the garbage can rather than 10.

-- From the June-July issue of Real Simple Magazine

To Do

TODAY: Book signing and discussion with "Blood and Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel" author Peter Krass at Olsson's Books and Music. Free. 7 p.m. 418 Seventh St. NW. Call 202-638-7610.

SATURDAY: Spring Into Summer -- wine dinner at 2941 Restaurant. Sponsored by the American Institute of Wine and Food. 6:30 p.m. $115 for nonmembers includes tax and tip. 2941 Fairview Park Dr. (near Route 50), Falls Church. Call 703-960-9990.

SUNDAY: Sensational Seafood, Simply Done -- grilling demonstration with food and wine pairing at Tarara Winery. Sponsored by the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. First in a four-part Grilling & Grapes series. $50 per class includes tax and tip. 4 p.m. 13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg. Call 703-506-4300 Ext. 7361.


JUNE 17: Dinner with the ambassador of Romania at the residence. Benefits Les Dames d'Escoffier scholarship program. $85. 6-8 p.m. 2500 30th St. NW. Call 202-973-2168.

JUNE 18: Vincent Girardin wine dinner at Equinox Restaurant. $90 excludes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 818 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-331-8118.

PLEASE NOTE: Space limitations sometimes prevent Food from publishing all submissions. For possible inclusion, send notices -- including organization name, date, cost, time, address and phone number -- to: To Do, Food, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington D.C. 20071 or food@washpost.com. Submissions must be received at least 14 days prior to publication date.