It's barbecue season, and chicken is the ideal candidate to get you grilling.
Why? Chicken is light, it easily picks up the marinade of your choice, and it cooks quickly. But this recipe is not for your everyday grilled chicken. This is spicy Jamaican-style jerk chicken.
Jerk seasoning consists of a base blend of scallions, thyme, allspice, Scotch bonnet chiles, salt and, not infrequently, cinnamon or nutmeg. This may seem like a lot of ingredients to slice and dice, but that's not the case. Toss them all into a blender, pulverize everything to a paste, then you're good to go.
But you do need to be careful when you're messing with those Scotch bonnets. I advise wearing gloves. A cousin of the habanero, Scotch bonnets are serious chiles. This recipe calls for a whole chile, but you can use less if you want to tamp down the heat. Happily, Scotch bonnets aren't solely about heat; they also are uniquely flavorful — like a cross between a mango and chile. If you can't find Scotch bonnets, use a habanero. If you can't find either, reach for a jalapeno or serrano.
I left the skin on the chicken to prevent it from drying out while it's being grilled, so when you marinate the chicken be sure to put the spice paste under the skin as well as on top of it. To cut calories, discard the skin after you're done grilling. The meat itself will be plenty spicy.
The job of the watermelon salsa is to balance the heat of the chiles. All by itself, of course, ripe watermelon is one of the top reasons to love summer. It happens to be healthy, too. It's an excellent thirst-quencher and a great source of lycopene, vitamin C and beta-carotene.