From Too Many Chefs -

June 13, 2005
Green Grilled Chicken

The Critic and I eat a lot of chicken breasts. It's his favorite meat, and I like the fact that it's reasonably healthy. I buy the free-range organic ones in our local supermarket at least once a week. Chicken breasts are pretty versatile and I have a lot of ways of preparing them, with varying degrees of healthiness: mustard chicken breasts, wrapped in bacon and cheese, chopped up in soups and pies, stir fried...the list seems endless sometimes.

But in actual fact, the list is not endless and so every once in a while I'm thoroughly tired of the usual preparations and look around for something new and exciting. This Sunday I wanted to use the new flash Weber grill the Critic bought over the weekend and I wanted something summery and fresh. Fresh herbs and a grill: why not?

For the first time in my life I have actually succeeded in growing a coriander plant. I'm so pleased because it's one of my favorite herbs and unfortunately it's one that doesn't keep well in the refrigerator. Basil and parsley can be counted on to stay relatively fresh wrapped in damp paper towels for a few days but the delicate coriander leaves seem to wilt within hours of purchasing them.

So, as I say, I'm rather proud of my little plant. (I do feel a bit mean picking leaves from it seems so cruel to keep a plant alive just to systematically and carefully pick the best leaves it has managed to grow...)

Grilled Green Chicken

2 boneless skinned chicken breasts if you have a grill with a cover that will cook them quickly and keep them moist (otherwise, I would recommend bone-in and with skin)

1 small handful of coriander leaves (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup frozen or fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
1 jalepeno pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 medium lemon
2 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
pinch of salt, grinding of pepper
1 tsp grain mustard

Place the herbs, garlic and pepper in a small blender or use an immersion blender in a small cup. Zap them with a drizzle of olive oil and continue adding oil and lemon juice until you have a thinnish sauce.

Take your breasts and make a few diagonal slits in them with a sharp knife. Slather half the herb sauce on the two breasts (i.e., one quarter each) making sure that you push some into the slits. Salt and pepper the breasts and place them on a hot grill or grill pan.

In the meantime, chop the tomatoes and toss them with the reserved sauce and the mustard. When the chicken is grilled on both sides and done in the middle (the slits will help you determine!) serve them over a helping of the herbed mustard tomatoes.

Although dark meat is generally a better candidate for the grill (it doesn't dry out as easily as white meat) on this recipe I think white meat is really essential. Not only do the fresh herbs go well with the less gamey meat but it also makes the dish very light and healthy. Serve with freezing cold white wine or light dry rosť on the terrace and toast the summer days to come!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at June 13, 2005 11:37 AM | TrackBack

Have no mercy on those herbs! They'd kill and eat you in a minute if they could.

Coriander is particularly vicious. The British under Chelmsford were done in at Isandlwana by a nasty nasty batch of coriander.

(Well, technically it was the coriander and 25,000 Zulu warriors, but the herb got its licks in, don't you doubt that. Or it would have were it mobile. Really, I guess it was just the Zulu when you get right down to it. But if the coriander had been mobile - look out!)

Posted by barrett on June 14, 2005 at 9:25 AM

I think my squeamishness comes from the bit in the Life of Pi where the hyena (I think) feeds off the live zebra over the course of a couple of days...ick...

That said, I have no qualms whatsoever about putting it on a hot grill like a third century martyr!

Posted by Meg in Paris on June 14, 2005 at 12:11 PM

Yeah I dunno, I suppose that's all fine and pretty. I have to say though, slipping in a piece of bacon under the skin of a breast will reveal it's true purpose. And the gravy makin's is incomparable. All ya'lls love yer ingredients, don't ya? Try adding flavor next time, it'll turn out far superior.
If something is wonderful, add bacon. It'll be heavenly.



Posted by Dr. Biggles on June 14, 2005 at 10:31 PM

Dr. Biggles, I tend to agree on the "bacon makes it better" principle, especially as chicken breasts are universally sold here boneless and skinless. (I'm waaaay too lazy to chop up my own bird usually!) So I do like to wrap them in a nice bit of fatty smoky pork as a rule.

We are experimenting, though, with the new grill. Our old one had a flat cover that you couldn't use when cooking and I wanted to see how moist the breasts would stay with the cover on. (Answer: not bad at all!)

Also, I need to lose about 20 pounds and the summer is here...bacon is now on the restricted list!

Still, I tend to agree in principle. You should check out my recipe for a Brie and Onion Tart, which I "improved" by adding lardons!


Posted by Meg in Paris on June 15, 2005 at 1:41 AM

You can't beat the taste of r non-growth hormone, non- antibiotic, free range poultry.I have found that there are local small family farms that raise them, but unfortunately, they don't advertise. I have had to seek them out. When I meet them I have told them there is a great demand for their products and asked why they don't advertise, they cite the cost and they are content with the amount of customers that they have. "Seek and Ye shall find"

Posted by chef 'em out on June 16, 2005 at 9:00 AM

Hey Meg in Paris,

You want JUICY chicken breasts? Do ya really? Are you interested to know how? Get your pencil & paper ready, I can make it so.

Here's what you do. Find some bricks, fire bricks if you can. Depending on your grill, maybe about 6. Wrap them in foil (easy to clean and deal with).
Divide your grill in half from top to bottom. What this means is, in the fire area, divide in half and stack the bricks up as best you can.
On top of the grill, the same. What you're doing is creating a fire side and a meat side. Don't get too crazy, you'll still need some flow around. Just attempting to make a little oven.
The next thing to do is see if you can get the air intake (on the bottom) on the fire side.
Then, open up full the air exhaust on the top over the meat side.
This way the air draws the heat up and over in to the meat side.
Start your fire and get it ready. Sear your chicken breasts over direct heat to get it all caramelly. Then, toss it over to your Oven side and put the lid on. Come back in 40 minutes.
Smoky juice juice perfection of love.
Too bad I already ate, I'm hungry again.


Posted by Dr. Biggles on June 17, 2005 at 9:41 PM

Dr. Biggles - that sounds wonderful (when can we come over for dinner??) but sadly I don't think it will work on our gas grill. Yes, I know, that is probably heresy for someone of your barbecuing talent but we live in a city and it's difficult to find a) a good non gas grill and b) the charcoal for it. When we make our break for the suburbs (or move to the US) I will definitely be trying your technique though!

In the meantime, I'm just grateful we are able to grill at all. In Paris it is almost unheard of!

Posted by Meg in Paris on June 20, 2005 at 5:20 AM

Oh and an update for anyone else reading this: last night I made this again with turkey breasts and stuffed them in a bun for a turkey burger - even better than the first time around! It probably won't pass the Atkins test, but it's still pretty healthy and was really delicious....

Posted by Meg in Paris on June 20, 2005 at 5:22 AM

Hey, you can do the same on a gas grill. Just fire up one burner. Get yourself one of those little Smoking Boxes and add your wood chips, set it directly on the burner. Install your foil covered bricks above and below. Put yer meats on the other side. You may want to put an oven thermometer on the meat side and see if you can get it down to 250 or so. At this point, you could truly smoke your chicken breast. Easy!
No smoking chips? The next time you're out in the country, spend some time looking for fruit trees and ask the owners for some clippings. Let them age 4 to 6 months if they green. It'll be worth it.


Posted by Dr. Biggles on June 20, 2005 at 3:45 PM

Okay, so I guess I have no excuse not to try it! Thanks for all the detailed information!

Incidentally, have you ever tried indoors tea-smoking? It's something I've seen on UK cooking programs a few times: you put tin foil in the bottom of a wok, add a few Tbs of tea leaves, put the chicken or beef on the rack above it, cover and heat. I've been meaning to give that a try too!

Posted by Meg in Paris on June 21, 2005 at 11:56 PM

respected chef floyd,
i love the way you cook,your recipes are excilent thanking you.vincy from bombay

Posted by vincent mascarenhas on March 23, 2006 at 3:13 AM