Sunday, May 10, 2009

Grilled Chicken Tenderloins with Rosemary/Garlic/Lemon Marinade

Living in the South, I have abundant, year-round access to one of my favorite herbs: rosemary. Here it grows to the size of a shrub and can actually be a nuisance in the garden. I recently made this marinade for chicken tenders and we devoured each and every one. I'm sure it would work well with chicken breasts, too. Just be sure not to overcook them.

Yes, it is a lot of rosemary; so, if you have a friend who grows it, neighborly ask/trade for some! The older the rosemary plant, the better the flavor. And don't throw away those woody stems. They are useful as skewers for shrimp, added to the soup pot, or a batch of peach jam for added flavor.

Not all lemons are the same. Taste first. If growing your own or fresh picked, they tend not to be as "sour." If not organic, scrub the skin before zesting. Some people don't use butter. That would be a misfortunate error. 

  • 12-16 meaty chicken tenders
  • 1/4-cup soft, unsalted butter
  • 1/4-cup olive oil
  • 1/2-cup fresh rosemary needles stripped from stems
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • Zest from one lemon, preferably organic
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch or two red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
Place butter, olive oil, rosemary needles, peeled garlic cloves, lemon zest and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until fully blended.

Arrange washed and dried chicken tenders on a baking sheet with foil. Place close together. Sprinkle with fresh salt and pepper to taste. With a spoon, spread each tender with herb mixture. Place in refrigerator until butter sets and then cover with another sheet of foil. Allow to marinate for 3-6 hours. I find that  covering with foil works better than cling film. 

Start grill. Just before cooking, coat grill with non-stick spray. Cook tenders over medium (indirect) heat, herb mixture side up. When edges begin to turn white, carefully flip over and continue to cook--a few minutes per side. Do not overcook. When they begin to brown, that's it. If you allow for charred, black grill marks, the outer flesh will be tough and stringy. Remove to a pan and cover with foil. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. If desired, grill lemon slices/halves to use as garnish. Sprinkle with parsley or, better yet, torn basil leaves.

Note: You can save a bit of the marinade to baste the chicken while cooking or to use as extra sauce for people to brush on their chicken. I serve this with plain white rice and sauteed button mushrooms with green onions. Fresh garden tomatoes and cucumbers are also welcome.

A simple but special-and-flavorful meal.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I've made chicken with a rosemary msrinade, but never with lemon! Sounds great!