Grilled Chicken Breasts
Total grill, all meat. Perhaps the easiest meat to grill, and the whole thing is there to eat. Just dig in with knife and fork, and you are on your way to culinary Heaven.
The grill makes the meat not only more flavorful than any other means of cooking (discounting sauces and considering only the meat itself), but makes it look more attractive, too.
Here the grilled chicken breasts are going to end up over pasta, but they are culinary diversity itself and could end up in so many ways -- too many to count. Here, though, we are going straight for flavor, and the grill delivers exactly what we want, with a little help from the marinade/sauce shown below.
Don't discount the fact that chicken breasts look so great on the grill -- visual appeal is a significant part of the dining experience.
Grilled with a marinade. We could just put the chicken breasts straight on the grill, perhaps bathed in a dab of olive oil to keep them from sticking to the grill, but a quick and easy marinade -- which becomes a sauce when we are done with the grilling process -- is far more desirable from a culinary point of view.
The marinade we have here consists of:
- fresh reamed lemon juice from half a lemon
- EVOO (For EVOO, click here).
- soy sauce
- vegetable broth
- hot sauce (in quantity desired by you, the chef)
- coarse ground salt and coarse ground pepper (of course)
- smashed garlic should also be added, as much as you want (actually, the more the merrier)
On grill, already turned over
Here are four of the breasts after having been on the preheated grill for four or five minutes and turned over. You do always preheat your grill, do you not?
Setting all modesty aside, they look magnificent, do they not? Touches of a brown-gold color have been added to the white of the breasts, in a most appealing way.
The marinade has been on the top shelf inside the grill for this same time, or almost this same time, sizzling away. We listen carefully to that sizzle because we want it to produce blending of the ingredients but at the same time we do not want it to evaporate away.
Please note: we have added a few other things to the marinade, a leftover grilled tomato from another culinary endeavor, likewise some baby carrots and grilled leek. We waste nothing.
Grilled, back in the sauce
Another four or five minutes, and the breasts are ready. The short grilling time is of course one of the advantages of boneless chicken breasts as a main course. The way they take a sauce or a marinade is another. This shortness of time on the grill is facilitated, of course, if the breasts have not been removed from the refrigerator and then transported directly to the grill. Take them out and let them near room temperature before plopping them on the grill
Back into the marinade/sauce these go.
The marinade has now transformed itself into an absolutely delicious sauce which we will pour over the chicken breasts and . . . .
Yes, and pasta. Mainly because of the sauce.
That sauce is perfect on the pasta and is the perfect companion to the grilled chicken breasts. Of course, it is possible to do many other things with beautifully grilled and sauced chicken breasts like these -- on a plate with grilled vegetables, for example, or next to couscous (ready in an instant) or corn on the cob.
The combination with pasta that we have here, however -- in the real world of actual people who like food -- would win contests.
The pasta here is regular old spaghetti, but of course other noodle pastas such as linguini would work just as well, as would the ear pasta, orecchiette.
A perfect main dish for a grand but simple dinner. A simple (maybe "straightforward" would be the better word here) salad of Romaine lettuce with tomatoes and some chopped scallions would be an ideal accompaniment to the grilled chicken and the pasta. EVOO and perhaps balsamic vinegar on the salad -- don't, of course, forget the coarse ground salt and the coarse ground pepper on top.
Something called myoglobin is responsible for the difference between chicken white meat, such as we have here with the deboned chicken breasts, and the chicken dark meat, such as can be found in the legs and thighs. Myoglobin is a rather special thing. It is a protein that binds oxygen and iron in the muscle tissue of vertebrate animals, a protein related to hemoglobin, which does pretty much the same thing in red blood cells. Myoglobin can also be described as the primary oxygen-carrying pigment of muscle tissues, with the consequence that high concentrations in muscle cells enable organisms to hold their breath for a longer period of time. (Think whales).
Apparently the dark meat of a chicken contains, per gram of protein, almost three times as much saturated fat as white meat. The general view is that dark meat and white meat of the chicken are nearly identical in nutritional value. It may be that dark meat contains more vitamins, however, though this is not certain.
Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped and food itself is secondary, all pix shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal --- a Real Meal.