Enjoying light summertime flavors
It's been so hot and humid here in Chicago this week that I wanted to cook something light and fresh. Something with a full flavor but a light, easy, summertime feel. Mediterranean Grilled Chicken struck me like the perfect fit. Its flavor comes from lemons, garlic, rosemary, oregano, olive oil and some other seasonings and in my mind it's a great summer taste.
Mediterranean Grilled Chicken is quick and easy, but the result tastes delicious and the flavor combinations make it seem much more complex than it actually is. This recipe, like the hummus I previously shared, comes from The Chopping Block. I've made it several times, most recently this week.
Mediterranean Grilled Chicken
Prep Time: 2 to 6 hours (2 hours for marinating should be fine if you're time constrained)
Grill Time: 7 to 10 minutes
4 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, including both the juice and the zest
1 teaspoon minced oregano
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt to taste
1. Prepare the chicken: Pound out your chicken breasts until the meat is a uniform thickness. Place chicken in a large, sealable plastic bag.
2. Assemble marinade and marinate chicken: Combine remaining ingredients except salt in a small bowl. Add marinade to chicken in plastic bag. Toss to coat all the chicken with the marinade, press excess air out of the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2-6 hours. Note: The chef that taught me this recipe suggested 2 hours as the marinating time. She warned that leaving the chicken in too long can cause the lemon to have a chemical reaction with the chicken and almost start to cook it. I have marinated my chicken both on the short side and the long side of the scale and each time it turned out fine.
3. Grill the chicken: Preheat grill or grill pan over medium high heat until very hot. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Stop and smell the aroma---wow! Season chicken on both sides with sea salt. Grill chicken until a light brown sear is created, usually about 4 minutes. Turn chicken over and grill until cooked, about 3-6 more minutes. Remove from heat and let rest a few minutes before serving.
So you can see it's a fast and easy dish, but I promise it tastes like you worked a lot harder than you did. I've made this dish many times and it's been a hit every time. Lima even likes it. I've served it with plain rice, with corn on the cob, with tabouli salad, and with other green salads and all have been nice accompaniments.
I can't write up this recipe without also touting the wonders of my lemon squeezer. This isn't a new gadget; I think they started popping up in full force around the US sometime last year but maybe even before then. If you have occassion to juice lemons with any frequency, get one of these lemon presses. They are revolutionary. You just slice your lemon in half, insert one half into the bottom half of the squeezer and then push down with the top half. The lemon juice comes gushing out and the seeds stay behind. This little gadget gets out much more of the lemon juice than I ever could by hand and saves me the trouble of rooting around for errant seeds that might have jumped into my dish. I bought the lemon-sized press, but they also come sized for oranges and limes too...maybe even other citrus fruit sizes I don't know about yet.
On a final note, I'd love to hear your suggestions for what I can do with the leftover fresh rosemary and fresh oregano I have after making this dish. As you see, this dish doesn't require much of the herbs but the packages the herbs were sold in were much bigger. I have a few thoughts about dishes I can sprinkle them onto or into, but I'd love to hear any thoughts you might have. Always looking for new ideas and inspiration. Also, could these be frozen? If anyone has had success with that, I'd love to hear. Post a comment or e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.