for some of you, grilling season may have just begun. For those of us living in the Mountain West, we’re not there yet. So while we still have to wear jackets to grill outside, the weather doesn’t lessen our desire.

This recipe is based on one I’ve used for years in various adaptations, and sent into Fine Cooking Magazine’s ‘America’s Best Cook’ cooking contest. It won for our region and became one of five nationwide final recipes. The original winning recipe was called ‘Grilled Orange Chicken Salad’(topic for another post), and followed the specific requirements for that contest.

Since then, I’ve used the marinade for salmon, pork loin, and even lamb chops. The chicken is delicious eaten on its own – and is also great served with a salad base. Yesterday, we decided to serve it with pasta, dressed up with lemon zest, butter, and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • Zest of 2-3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon ground OR rock salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix together the last eight ingredients and pour into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. 

Add the chicken breasts and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight in the refrigerator (we like a good hour for tenderness that still makes it a quick dinner).

Place chicken on a pre-heated grill and drizzle 1/2 of remaining marinade on the first side of the chicken. 

Cook for 8-10 minutes then flip, and pour the remaining marinade on the other side. Grill with left over lemon wedges for an additional squeeze of citrus when serving.

By adding citrus to marinade ingredients cuts down the cooking time, as citrus juice creates a slow-cooking chemical reaction to food. It’s easy, delicious, and, if you have marinated the chicken and suddenly decide to go out someplace exotic, throw the whole bag in the freezer for another day because as it unthaws it will continue to marinate, doing the work for you. Food always tastes more delicious when it has worked for you!