An Achingly Simple Herbed Grilled Chicken For Summer

07/12/2012 05:04 pm ET | Updated Sep 11, 2012

chicken breasts

When you have a family of four, and the bulk of the people you invite over often come in groupings of 2 to 6, it's shockingly easy to go from "We're having a few people over for dinner" to "Holy crap, what am I going to make for 14?" This very situation had me gazing thoughtfully at the prepared rotisserie chickens at the market yesterday morning. However, this time, it's a 4th of July dinner, and I would just feel bad.

This chicken recipe is almost like a building block for any number of summer meals. It's just coated up with olive oil, salt, pepper and whatever herbs you have in your garden, your fridge or speak to you at the market.

Then you can serve the breasts attractively sliced up as a main course, dice them and use them in a pasta or rice salad, serve slices over any number of green or vegetable salads, toss them into grilled quesadillas and so on. Make more than you need because they are one of the most versatile summer leftovers I can think of.

You can be more liberal with herbs like basil, parsley and thyme, but use a lighter hand with stronger herbs like oregano or rosemary.

Don't forget about carryover cooking, which means the chicken continues to cook after it leaves the grill. Ergo, take the breasts off just before they are cooked through, and let them sit for 4 or 5 minutes before cutting into them. This is how you can grill up a chicken breast that falls into the juicy category.

4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup minced herbs such as basil, thyme, sage, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and chervil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Sprinkle the chicken with a generous amount of salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. In a small container or a bowl, shake up or whisk together the olive oil, herbs, mustard and garlic.
  3. You can either place the chicken in a large zipper top baggie or two, add the herbed oil and squish it all around to coat well, or you can layer up the chicken with the herbed oil in a large container with a lid. Either way, seal it up once the chicken is all coated, and refrigerate from 4 to 12 hours.
  4. Preheat a grill to medium, and grill the chicken breasts for about 4 to 6 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until it is almost cooked through (there should be only a slight hint of pinkness remaining in the center).
  5. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, and let sit for 4 or 5 minutes, then slice, and serve however you wish. This is also great at room temperature.