Isn’t it great when something simple is also spectacular? That’s definitely the case with these Chicken Skewers served with Garlic Aioli, just one of several recipes in my party food and wine series for TheCookful!
A little chicken, a little rosemary, and a deliciously doctored mayonnaise—that’s really all there is here. But that’s all you need to make an appetizer that’s perfect for any party, from game day to a fancy soirée.
In short, meet Rosemary Chicken Skewers with Garlic Aioli, an all-around perfect app.
Making The Chicken Skewers
Not only is this recipe simple, it’s really easy.
Start by making the garlic aioli, which actually redundant because aioli by definition is garlic flavored. If you’ve never made mayonnaise from scratch I highly recommend it (here’s one of my favorite mayonnaise recipes). But this app is all about ease, so it uses jarred mayo combined with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Mix it up, pop it into a dipping bowl, and it’s done.
For the chicken, use either tenders or boneless, skinless breasts cut into strips. Thread those strips onto skewers—about eight inches is a good size—brush them with oil and sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Then they’re ready for the broiler.
You can do all that up to a day or so in advance, then just cook the chicken when you’re ready for it.
Don’t like rosemary? Use an herb that you do—thyme, sage, oregano, or marjoram would be nice. And if you’re not going for a perfect wine pairing (more on that in the next section), so would parsley, cilantro, dill, or mint. But because those herbs are more delicate, sprinkle them on after cooking instead of before.
What Wine Should I Pair With Chicken?
As I explain in this Guide to Pairing Party Foods and Wine, chicken is in the middle of the spectrum in terms of food and wine pairing. Depending on how it’s prepared, it can work with a heavier white like Chardonnay or Viognier or a lighter red like Pinot Noir.
But since these skewers are broiled, picking up only light browning, and served with a relatively mild, mayonnaise-based sauce, the scales tip towards a heavy white.
A side note about Chardonnay in particular. Although it’s almost always rich for a white wine, it comes in a range of styles, from crisp to buttery. The crisp ones will provide contrast to the creamy aioli and the buttery ones will complement it—but any will work because they’re all weighty.
Other Wine Pairings
If you’re looking for other party foods that will work alongside these Rosemary Chicken Skewers, stay tuned for my take on Shrimp Scampi. That recipe was designed with light white wine in mind, but it will work with a big white as well.
Mushroom Flatbread with Caramelized Onions would work with a big white too, especially if it’s made with white mushrooms.
To make these skewers work with a light red, like Pinot Noir or Grenache, try replacing the lemon juice in the aioli with red wine vinegar and/or balsamic vinegar. Or replacing some of the mayonnaise with Dijon mustard. Or grilling the skewers. Any of those alterations will add intensity and, in the case of balsamic or grilling, meatiness, which helps the recipe merit a red. Other dishes in this series that also go with a light red include the Mushroom Flatbread I mentioned earlier.Print
- About 18 (8-in.) skewers
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 and ½ lb. chicken tenders, or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2-in. strips (about 18 tenders or strips)
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- If they’re wood or bamboo, put the skewers in water to soak.
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Set aside.
- Preheat the broiler and arrange a rack about 6 inches from the heat.
- Meanwhile, thread the chicken onto the skewers, one strip per skewer, and arrange them on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Brush both sides of the chicken with the remaining ¼ cup of oil and sprinkle with the rosemary, salt, and pepper.
- Broil until the chicken is lightly browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes.
- Serve with the aioli.