Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Basic Grilled Chicken

It's funny how sometimes the easiest things to cook are the most challenging. Case in point....basic grilled chicken. For many years, I could not cook a decent piece of grilled chicken to save my life! My chicken would always come out too dry and not very flavorful.

Countless cutlets later, I finally I discovered the secret to cooking flavorful and moist grilled chicken. The trick is really just two simple but important steps.

The first step is trimming the chicken well and pounding them down to about 1/2 inch thickness. In the past, I would just take the chicken right out of the package and use it that way. The cutlets were too thick and would take forever to cook. So, I would end up with tough, dry cutlets...blah!

The second important step, is making sure to use a very hot grill pan (or outdoor grill) that is lightly brushed with oil. Let the chicken cook about 3-4 minutes before turning over. If you turn it too soon the chicken will stick to the pan. I then cook them an additional 1-2 minutes per side to ensure the chicken is very thoroughly cooked (I have nightmares about undercooked chicken...anyone else?) and to get those pretty grill marks.

This chicken does not need to marinate and is simply seasoned. It comes out flavorful and is perfect by itself or served as part of another dish. This chicken is so versatile, that I always end up making more cutlets than I need and refrigerate the leftovers to use later in the week.

Basic grilled chicken on top of a salad.

chicken breasts, skinless
canola oil or olive oil
seasoning salt (such as Mrs. Dash)
crushed red pepper flakes

Begin by rinsing the chicken breasts under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. On a cutting board, trim the chicken of any fat, skin or cartilage. Then place each breast between two pieces of plastic wrap (or inside of a gallon size Ziploc, my fav. method) and gently pound chicken with a mallet to 1/2 inch thickness. Trim any remaining fat, skin or cartridge from each breast that you see.

Lightly brush each breast with oil, then season both sides with salt, pepper, seasoning salt and a pinch of the red pepper flakes.

Brush oil on a grill pan and set over a med-high heat. Once the grill pan is very hot, add each chicken breast and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn over each breast and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Turn over again and cook for 1-2 on each side, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and juices run clear.

Remove from grill pan and serve or let cool and refrigerate. These grilled chicken breasts last in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

WW Points= 4 ( 4oz chicken cutlet)

Source: Chef Mommy's Kitchen