I love grilled chicken breasts, but they can turn out dry and somewhat flavorless. I have a couple of different techniques I like to use to avoid these pitfalls:
• Make sure to grill the chicken on medium-high heat quickly so it doesn’t have time to dry out.
• Cook the breasts with the skin on for a juicier result.
• Marinate the chicken for up to two hours before cooking to add flavor without changing the texture of the chicken. The only caveat to this is, while marinating, if you are using a sticky-sweet barbecue sauce, just season the breasts and rub them with oil before cooking. Wait until five minutes before the chicken is done to brush on the sweet sauce so it doesn’t remain over the flame long enough to burn.
• Finally, make sure that the breasts are of uniform thickness for even cooking by pounding them between sheets of wax paper.
This recipe works perfectly with lean chicken breasts, and the sauce is a classic that I serve often. It is a variation on the internationally popular chimichurri sauce that appears on grilled meats in Argentina, where it’s as common as ketchup is here. I added sweet white balsamic vinegar to the mixture, but you could also use sherry or champagne vinegar if you like.
The basics of chimichurri sauce are parsley, lots of garlic, vinegar and olive oil. You can make your own signature variety with the addition of compatible ingredients. Ideas include adding capers, shredded carrots, celery, red bell pepper and anchovies. Some ingredients remain uncooked while others meld together when left simmering for a few minutes.
Diane Rossen Worthington has written 18 cookbooks. Contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.
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