Thursday, September 11, 2014

Grilled Chicken With Basil Dressing

After a very slow start to the season, my little planter of basil went insane and gave me massive quantities of basil. It's still out there on the deck going strong. I have pesto for days.

In my quest this summer to try to find creative ways to use up all the abundance of veggies and herbs I was blessed with, I stumbled across this little gem from Giada De Laurentiis. I made some modifications. The original calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken, but we prefer grilling boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they are so simple and cook up evenly. Also, I've reduced the salt by quite a bit as the original recipe called for entirely too much. Feel free to adjust to your tastes.

Grilled Chicken With Basil Dressing
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network

2/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus 1/4 cup
1 1/2 tsp, fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 large garlic clove

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Whisk 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a resalable plastic bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turning the chicken occasionally.

Meanwhile, blend the basil, garlic, lemon peel, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Gradually blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Grill the chicken until just cooked through. Transfer the chicken to serving plates, drizzle with the basil sauce and serve.

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