The inspiration for this spicy, zesty marinade comes from my Aunt Julia, who immigrated from South Korea to Uruguay in the '80s. She always made chicken wings using a jalapeño-cilantro mixture similar to this one. I love how clean it tastes, how it really lets you appreciate the full, fresh flavor of jalapeños. Plus, it dyes everything a glorious green. It's good as a wing marinade, but even better on chicken thighs (which I've been known to turn into tacos). —Eric Kim
In a food processor or blender, blitz the jalapeños, garlic, cilantro stems, olive oil, salt, sugar, and pepper. That's it!
Now what?: You can keep this in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to a week and zhush up anything from chicken to steak, even salmon and shrimp. I think it tastes best as a chicken marinade, especially boneless, skinless thighs and wings. Just toss it with a couple pounds of either and leave to marinate in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. Drain the chicken in a colander to get rid of excess marinade, then lay on a sheet pan and roast at 400° F for 20 to 25 minutes for thighs (and a little longer for wings).
Eric Kim is a senior editor at Food52, where his solo dining column, Table for One, runs Friday mornings. Formerly the managing editor at Food Network and a PhD candidate in literature at Columbia University, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.