Monday, August 16, 2004
GRILLED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH BASIL AND TOMATO
Mined from yet another library cookbook, this is an easy, light recipe that could risk being blah with bad ingredients but is tasty at the height of summer. (Hey, I avoided using the word "summery"! Judging by my limited repertoire of adjectives, I think we can all conclude I'd be a terrible food writer. My palate isn't all that sensitive; my dad is always trying to train me to taste wines, but I think they all pretty much taste like...wine.) The tastes are delicate, so don't skimp on the quality of the chicken you buy because there's not much to cover it up. The tomatoes are the stars here, so get the best ones you can. We had this last night with corn on the cob and I felt pretty darn pleased with myself for whipping it up.
Note that you're going to want to make the marinade ahead of time (anywhere from 1 to 24 hours--the more the better, I say) so the chicken can marinate.
5 tablespoons olive oil (or more)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus 2 more tablespoons
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
salt and pepper to taste
1. Ideally, this step should be done the day before you want to serve the chicken, so it can marinate for the full 24 hours: Mix together 1/4 cup olive oil (go ahead and use more if you need it to cover the chicken sufficiently), 1/2 cup basil, the lemon juice, the garlic, and generous amounts of salt and pepper in a large glass bowl with a lid (or Ziplock bags always work well for marinating, too). Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels, add it to the marinade, stir everything around, cover the bowl, and put it in the refrigerator. Since the marinade isn't very liquidy, try to turn the chicken in the bowl a few times while it's marinating to make sure it all gets appropriately flavored.
2. When you're ready to cook the chicken, fire up the grill and pull the bowl of marinade out of the refrigerator to warm up a little. Mix the chopped tomatoes and the remaining basil in a medium bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil and more salt and pepper (generously again).
3. Extract the chicken from the marinade and grill it, then serve it with some tomato mixture spooned over each portion.
Time: About 30 minutes, plus marinating time