A few months ago I was waiting (forever!) to get some blood work done and Rachael Ray was on the TV. My ears perked up when I heard her talking about grilled lemons, and I started imagining what I could do with that amazingly mouthwatering idea. A little thought, and a look at my garden and the basil growing like crazy, and an amazing new recipe was born. The best part, is that it is so simple and easy, but the flavors will amaze you. I have shared this meal with friends several times, and they have been delighted with the results.
When you grill the lemons and the natural sugars caramelize, you have the most amazing combination of sour, sweet and smoky. Pair that with fresh basil and a whole lot of garlic, and it really is an almost sinful meal to enjoy and share. I chose to use chicken thighs, because they are so inexpensive and forgiving when you grill, but you could use chicken breasts as well. And just for fun. try grilling up a few extra lemons (on foil so they don’t get greasy) and try making a Lemon Vinaigrette or some Grilled Lemonade, sweetened with a bit of stevia or honey.
You can marinate the chicken ahead of time, so it is especially great for entertaining, because you just have to grill and serve, leaving plenty of time for chatting and sharing life together.
- 3 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 6-8 cloves garlic, crushed (or more, if you LOVE garlic like I do!)
- 1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 lemons, cut in half
- Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper to taste. Place thighs in a gallon ziptop bag or shallow baking dish.
- Combine the basil, garlic and olive oil and pour over the chicken thighs, mixing well to evenly coat the chicken.
- Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, and up to a day in advance. Remove the chicken from the fridge about 20 minutes before grilling.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high.
- Grill the chicken thighs until done, turning halfway through cooking time. (About 20 minutes total.)
- While you are grilling the chicken, place the lemons cut side down on the grill and cook for about 6 minutes, until the sugar starts to caramelize and the juices begin to run. Remove to a plate to cool.
- When the chicken thighs are done, generously squeeze the grilled lemon juice over them and serve.