This is the summer of gill bliss.

No, I don’t have a charcoal grill.  I have a gas grill.  Yes, a charcoal grill tastes better.  No, I wouldn’t use it.  Yet.  I really only started trusting myself on a gill last year.

This has a slightly Asian profile; the spices add an aromatic element to a salad that’s mostly all tongue-tastes and no nose-flavors.

Cherry-Chicken Salad
Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken thigh per person (thawed if frozen)
2 c pitted, halved cherries
1/2-3/4 c whole almonds
1 large bag of spring mix or lettuce or spinach
1/2 c white wine
2 T olive oil
1t salt
4 T sugar, separated
1/2 t five-spice powder
3-4 szechuan peppers, optional

Grind the szechuan peppers in a spice grinder or mortar, then add the salt, five-spice powder, and 2T sugar and grind or mix together. Sprinkle about half of the spice mix on both sides of the thighs and set aside.

Preheat the grill.

In a small pan, heat the wine, olive oil, cherries, and the other half of the mixture until the cherries are soft and the sauce is dark red. Taste and adjust the flavor with the rest of the sugar as desired; it should taste more sweet than salty, but not like a dessert topping.

Meanwhile, add the almonds to a saute pan and toast, stirring occasionally to keep from burning. When they smell good, remove them from heat and reserve.

Grill the chicken until just barely done. Let rest for a minute or two, then slice across the grain into strips.

Assemble the salad on separate plates or bowls, rather than tossing everything together, to ensure the almonds don’t get lost at the bottom of the bowl.