1 hour 20 minutes to 2 hours 20 minutes, including marinade
In Japan, the chicken fillet or chicken tender is most often served rare, just lightly grilled on the outside. This is because there is no fat and no real connective tissue except for the one easily removed tendon. Unfortunately eating rare or raw chicken is not something my customers tend to appreciate, so we decided to marinate the fillet in a slightly sweet yuzu miso so that we could get some caramelization on the chicken before it is fully cooked and dry.
Editor's note: It's helpful to keep a small spray bottle of sake on hand for finishing this yakitori recipe. If you don't have a spray bottle, pour about 1 Tbsp. sake into a small bowl and brush a small amount onto each skewer to finish.Additionally, if you can't find fresh yuzu near you, you can substitute lemon.
Makes 5 skewers
Prepare the marinade by placing the barley miso, mirin, sake, yuzu skin, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and soy sauce in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Reserve in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Carefully remove the small tendon from the underside of each chicken fillet by running the tip of the knife blade just under the visible part of the tendon. Place the fillet on the cutting board. Pinching the end, run the knife along the tendon in a downward motion until removed. Repeat on the remaining fillets. Place in a shallow baking dish, and cover with the marinade, tossing to coat completely. Marinate for 1–2 hours.
Starting at the wider end, cut each chicken fillet into three pieces to make a total of six pieces. Move one of the larger end pieces to the side of the smaller pieces. Starting with the smaller pieces at the bottom of the skewer, pinch the meat so the rounded, smooth side faces up. Insert the skewer directly through the middle of the meat. Continue skewering the rest of the fillet pieces, working up in size, keeping the smooth side of the meat facing up. Repeat until you have five identical skewers, each weigh about 1½ ounces each.
Start with the smooth side down over high heat, grilling until light brown, 1–2 minutes. Rotate ¼ turn, cook on each side until lightly colored, about 1 minute per side. Once three sides are colored, finish cooking on the last side until light brown, 1–2 minutes. Spray with sake and lightly season with salt to finish. Garnish with yuzu zest and a squeeze of fresh yuzu juice.