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Here’s a new twist for grilling season

Grilling is many people’s preferred method of cooking, perhaps because it combines the great outdoors with delicious food. When grilling, many people are comfortable sticking with traditional backyard barbecue fare, such as hot dogs and hamburgers. But those who want to expand their grilling horizons can try the following simple recipe for “Grilled Chicken and Onion Skewers” from Amy Kaneko’s “Let’s Cook Japanese Food!” (Chronicle Books).

Grilled Chicken & Onion Skewers

Makes 10 to 12 skewers

Basting Sauce (optional)

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, excess fat removed and cut into bite-size pieces

1 yellow onion, cut into 2-inch wedges, and/or baby leeks, white part only, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil

Salt (optional)

Place 10 to 12 bamboo skewers in water to cover at least 30 minutes before grilling. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

If using the basting sauce, in a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin and sugar over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the liquid just begins to turn syrupy, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside in a small bowl.

Drain the skewers. Thread the chicken pieces alternately with the onion pieces onto the skewers, using about 3 pieces of chicken and 2 pieces of onion for each skewer. As each skewer is ready, place on a plate. Brush the chicken and onion pieces lightly on all sides with the oil.

If using the basting sauce, either dip each skewer in the sauce or brush the sauce on the skewers and then place directly over the heat. Grill the skewers, turning 3 or 4 times and basting with additional sauce, until the chicken is cooked through and the onions are scorched around the edges, about 5 minutes total.

Serve the skewers piping hot.