June 18, 2011

Grilled Lemon Chicken Breasts

In case anyone hasn't noticed yet, I really love grilling.  On nice days and evenings from spring through fall, if I'm cooking, more often than not it will probably be on my grill.  Sometimes I prepare a whole meal on the grill, other times I just grill part of the meal.  This time around it was the latter.  I'd already decided to make up the season's first batch of our Basil, Feta and Tomato Pasta Salad

Now I just needed to make something to go with it... and preferably something grilled.

I ended up soaking some chicken breasts in an easy marinade and then tossing them on the grill.   I tend to make a lot of thick sauces for grilled meat and poultry, often including Asian seasonings, but for this meal I went with something lighter.   I decided to feature lemon flavor, and to back it up with some garlic and seasonings. 

Those decisions made, the rest came together easily.   Olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest would form the backbone of the marinade.   I decided to toss in some fresh oregano from our garden, and the other ingredients - garlic, pepper, salt and red pepper flakes - were obvious choices.

These chicken breasts were quite tasty.  They were perfectly cooked, and had a bold lemon flavor that was nicely supported by the other ingredients.  They were also pretty quick - I started by marinating the chicken, then got the grill ready, and by the time the grill was hot and ready for cooking, the chicken had marinated long enough for the flavors to really set in - and easy.   For a recipe I tossed together with minimal thought, they turned out great.  Better yet, the sliced-up, leftover chicken breast paired nicely with the pasta salad for lunches the next day. 

Grilled Lemon Chicken Breasts

yield = 3 servings

2                 tablespoons olive oil
1                 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1                 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
                   grated zest of one lemon
2                 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2              teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4              teaspoon table salt
1/4              teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3                 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves,
                       trimmed of excess fat

Add olive oil, oregano, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, pepper, salt and red pepper flakes to a large zipper-lock bag.  Add the chicken breasts.  Seal the bag and shake/turn to coat the chicken with the other ingredients.  Refrigerate and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare grill for medium-high, direct heat.   Remove the chicken from the zipper-lock bag; discard bag and marinade.  Grill the chicken breasts until cooked through (about 5 minutes per side).   Serve.

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