grilled chicken with basil dressingOne of my 2009 resolutions was to cook some new dishes. Yes, I want to move away from the Italian and American stuff I always cook. But let’s not rush me, there’s plenty still left in those worlds for me to play with. Last night, after The Worst Week Ever (which involved me being carted off from work in an ambulance after an asthma attack), I finally had some energy back to cook something for dinner. So I made this grilled chicken, which is from the first Giada book I ever bought, Giada’s Family Dinners. It was really good, and I just made some garlic bread and caprese to go with it. I didn’t actually grill it, though. I only processed the directions so far, and my brain has been so fried this week that I sauteed them instead of using the grill pan. They were still delicious, though.

We keep bags of Whole Foods frozen mini baguettes in the freezer, so I baked one of those and then sliced it up. I melted some butter with 4 cloves of chopped garlic, dunked the bread slices in on both sides, and put them under the broiler for about 2 minutes per side. They could have had more garlic flavor, so next time I will cook the garlic in the pan first and then add the butter. I put everything in together, and the garlic didn’t open up enough.

caprese kebabsThe caprese was fun, too. I’d bought some grape tomatoes and mini mozzarella balls to pack in lunches for Adam and myself this week, but since I was home for a few days that didn’t happen. I’d seen an episode of Rachael Ray in the dentist’s office where she made caprese kebabs, and I loved that. So I just made them to go with dinner. I used my tangerine balsamic and meyer lemon olive oil from Carter & Cavero, and a little of the basil dressing made for this chicken. Tossed it all together and skewered it, and it was entertaining AND delicious. The grape tomatoes were great; I love caprese, but sometimes it gets watery from the cut tomatoes. This didn’t.

So here’s Giada’s recipe for the chicken:

Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing

  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Whisk 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a heavy-duty re-sealable 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 (I actually put these in to marinate Thursday night).

Meanwhile (or when you’re actually ready to cook these), blend the basil, garlic, lemon zest, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 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. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to plates. Drizzle the basil sauce over and serve.