As home cooks know, you can’t go wrong with boneless chicken breasts for a quick dinner after a full day of weekend activities or an exhausting day at work. Low in fat and high in protein they lend themselves so well to many cooking methods and cuisines. Pan fry, poach, bake, stew and, when we’re blessed by the glorious arrival of Spring; my favorite, grilled. The only major pitfall is overcooking; so just keep in mind that a pounded-thin chicken breast sans bones and skin is cooked through in about 5-7 minutes, depending on thickness, and should be moist – just not pink juicy.
This simple recipe takes advantage of the wonderfully juicy yellow-orange Meyer Lemons that are in season now. Meyer lemons are less tart than the lemons most commonly found in markets, which makes it a favorite flavoring for sweet and savory dishes alike. Delicious on fish, poultry, vegetables and in fruit desserts, use Meyer Lemons as a low calorie seasoning. Or, use the juice as a delicious, fresh alternative to high fat salad dressings and sauces. Here the zest and juice is used for a simple marinade and gremolata.
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Meyer Lemon Gremolata
2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice*
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 chicken breast halves, pounded to ½ inch thick*
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated Meyer lemon zest*
*Of course, if Meyer lemons aren’t available, you can use regular lemons. Cut the breast into smaller pieces by slicing off the tenderloin portion i.e. the chicken “tender” (perfect size for kids). Place under plastic wrap and use a meat pounder to pound each portion to ½ inch thickness.
In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, pepper, and salt to taste. Add oil in a stream, whisking until the marinade is emulsified. Put chicken breasts in a gallon size resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning the bag once.
Meanwhile prepare the gremolata by mixing the three ingredients together in a small bowl.
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Remove the chicken from the bag. Discard marinade. Place on oiled rack and grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve sprinkled with the gremolata and garnished with lemon and thyme.
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