Grilled Chicken with Basil Butter
Grilled Chicken with Basil Butter
'If I had to choose just one plant from the whole herb garden, I should be content with basil,' Elizabeth David, Italian Food.
It is the height of Summer and the basil in our little kitchen garden is in full production, so the time is ripe to pick the sweet spearhead leaves and savour their intoxicating fragrance and subtle aniseed flavour. Reading through my numerous cookery books in the search for unusual recipes, I am reminded by food historian, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, that basil is 'a very fragile plant... it must be used fresh... and should be used with care'. Indeed, fresh basil, once picked, will last if stored in the refrigerator for less than a week. It is best to either pop sprigs of basil into a jar of water, which you freshen daily; or pick the leaves and store them in an airtight container lined with paper towel.
I plan to make the most of this season's crop of basil, explore its culinary uses and share my findings with you in forthcoming posts. In this snippet, I will focus on one of my favourite Summer recipes: Grilled Chicken with Basil Butter. The recipe is based on five simple ingredients; and is fresh, fast and full of flavour. I hope you will enjoy this dish as much as Peter and I do. Add it to your repertoire.
GRILLED CHICKEN WITH BASIL BUTTER
2 boneless free range chicken breasts
60g good quality butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup fresh Sweet Basil leaves
freshly ground pepper
a little lemon juice
Carefully flatten the chicken breast pieces with the side of a meat mallet. If you prefer, leave the breasts as they are, rather than pounding them, but this will require longer cooking time. I have successfully prepared this dish by cooking the chicken in a hot wok and popping the lid on at the end of the cooking time to ensure that the meat is cooked through. Set aside while you prepare the basil butter.
Wash the basil leaves in cold water and gently pat dry with a paper towel. Put the butter in a food processor and, with the motor running, add the basil leaves and the lemon juice. Blend well. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper. Add a little more lemon juice if you wish. Spoon the mixture into a butter pot and chill slightly.
Sear the chicken pieces on a lightly greased hot grill or barbecue plate for a couple of minutes per side. Remove when cooked through and tender. Serve immediately with a dollop of basil butter and a light salad or some steamed garden vegetables. Serves 2. *This quantity will make enough for four or six serves. Store any leftover basil butter in the refrigerator.
Note: I used free range RSPCA-approved chicken and Pepe Saya Australian cultured butter.
... and an update on the kitchen garden
At the beginning of the year, I made a promise to myself that I would spend more time in our kitchen garden to ensure a bountiful supply of fruit, vegetables and herbs. Here is a mid January snapshot of the kitchen garden. Our plants are making good progress and, to our surprise, the rich compost that we dug in a few weeks ago has seen a flourish of little seedlings, including tomatoes, carrots and, we think, cucumbers or pumpkins. See if you can tell me what they are. Tell me, do you grow your own produce? Which plants are your best performers?
19/1/2012 12:36:34 pm
Amanda hi!! Thank you. I think you would be surprised by how delicious and simple this one is. Presented it years ago on my ABC radio segment and it was very popular.
19/1/2012 01:47:27 pm
19/1/2012 01:12:41 pm
Love the photos of your vegetable garden Lizzy and the chicken dish looks amazing! I have just made basil pesto myself...delicious :) Happy Friday!
19/1/2012 01:48:48 pm
Happy Friday Jane! Thank you.... basil pesto, yum! Did you see Fiona Johnston's poem re Pesto on my food verse page? Click on the link in the side bar. I think you will like it.
19/1/2012 03:06:20 pm
Hi Barb! Thank you... I am loving it. Oh why can I not retire now and just cook and garden?! : )
19/1/2012 03:07:16 pm
Hmmm... not sure.... I thought of melon too, but I didn't think we had eaten any for a fair while. Will be interesting indeed. All I can tell you is that they are growing very rapidly!
19/1/2012 03:49:32 pm
This looks so simple and I know just the place to get top-quality butter from...need to get myself a food processor though.
19/1/2012 04:07:28 pm
Mel, just finely chop the basil leaves and mix into the softened butter with a spoon or spatula. Easy peasy and no food processor necessary. I only used a mini one for this task. By mini, I mean teeny weeny!
19/1/2012 04:17:03 pm
I've never thought of combining butter and basil before, I'll have to try it. Very envious of all the fresh herbs you have. I live in a unit and don't have a garden.
19/1/2012 04:19:34 pm
Hello there! Thank you for your kind words... Do you have a balcony?
19/1/2012 04:48:36 pm
oooh, I envy you this kitchen garden! it's beautiful! And I almost can smell that basil here ;)
19/1/2012 04:55:24 pm
LOL, hello. It is not a massive kitchen garden, but is tended with love and care. Do you have a kitchen garden?
19/1/2012 05:02:09 pm
No, I don't have and I miss the one I've had in Poland. Now I live in a small apartment in the CBD, so unfortunately I can't even have a small pot :(
19/1/2012 05:22:54 pm
Ah, pop over to Celia's web site at figjamandlimecorial. She has some wonderful posts on growing veg indoors! Thanks for stopping by. Nice to meet you!
19/1/2012 06:46:09 pm
Your garden looks wonderful Lizzy! Everything looks so lush, happy and healthy. :)
19/1/2012 06:57:34 pm
Erin, thank you... how is your finger now? Still sore?
20/1/2012 04:45:27 am
Your garden is seriously enviable. I only have a few things growing well at the moment but I do have enough basil to make your recipe. Yum!
20/1/2012 09:22:07 am
Why thanks so much! It is only a small space. Three beds in total, but it brings us a great deal of joy! Hope you enjoy it, Claire.
22/1/2012 02:13:37 pm
Yum some of my favorite flavor combinations. Your garden pictures are very inspirational I do want to start one this year.
22/1/2012 07:18:13 pm
Hello there! Good to meet you. Thank you... watch this space for more inspiration.
22/1/2012 09:57:09 pm
Basil is just lovely at the moment and to me it's the smell of summer. The basil butter soundss really decadent and and I imagine would be lovely itch fish too.
23/1/2012 02:34:57 am
Hi Anna, it is indeed. Usually I have grown mine in a pot and it died down or went to see so quickly. This year I am really overjoyed with the results. Love this recipe. It is so good, it surprises me each time I make it!
22/1/2012 10:17:26 pm
Your kitchen garden is looking awesome! Well done, you should be very pleased with your efforts.
23/1/2012 02:36:13 am
Thanks Sara! I feel very chuffed. I will miss my little daily gardening efforts when I return to work next week *Sad face*. Glad you like the chicken dish, too. Thanks for the comments on Twitter!
23/1/2012 09:52:40 am
Hello there Skinny Chick Liz! Do make it... it is a cracker of a great dish! Thanks for stopping by.
23/1/2012 06:14:29 pm
A lovely simple basil recipe. The photograph of the BBQ chicken made my mouth instantly water. Thanks for sharing, Lizzy. As well as the lovely photos of your veggie patch.
23/1/2012 06:20:36 pm
Thanks Rachel! Very kind of you. Hope you will try this dish.
24/1/2012 06:57:15 am
Hi Chanel... oh, then you must buy a sprig of basil (or come to my place and grab some!!) and try this dish, you will love it. The weather has made tomatoes ripen very slowly, hasn't it!. Thanks so much for popping in.
Not sure how I missed this post, Lizzy! It all looks so lush and green, and haven't your cucumbers done well! Our Lebanese cuke vines produced for about a month, then died off completely, still not sure why. Looks like you've been getting more sun down south than we have here in Sydney, which is bizarre! :)
4/2/2012 08:14:55 am
Hi Celia! Yes, it is odd that Canberra is now getting more sunshine than Sydney... we are frequently having higher temps nowadays, which was unheard of in the past! Lots of rain, though. The cucumbers have been wonderful... and keep surprising us.
6/2/2012 07:39:42 am
I love flavoured butter, I have a big roll of truffle butter in the freezer and just might need to make some basilbutter to join it.
6/2/2012 02:01:32 pm
Hello there my fellow Canberran and friend of Celia! Good to meet you. Your vegie patch sounds wonderful. I am going to give pumpkin a run this year, haven't grown it for years, but we have seedlings that are growing rapidly. I am not sure why yours is not fruiting so well, or what would cause that to happen. Please visit again and stay for a cuppa next time!
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Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.