Grilled Chicken With Parsley-Olive Sauce
Boneless, skinless thighs are a boon to grilling because they’re almost impossible to overcook. Breasts are a bit trickier because they are low in fat and can dry out quickly. But this technique works beautifully for both. If you have the time, dry brine in advance (see Tips). When ready to eat, grill the chicken longer on the first side to get a little color (if the breasts are uneven in thickness, pound them until they’re even first), finish cooking on the other side, then plunge it into a bright sauce for up to 30 minutes for added juiciness. The sauce here is made with parsley, olives, chile, lemon juice and small bits of lemon rind for tartness and texture, but adjust flavorings as you wish. Serve the chicken with plenty of sauce, and perhaps a salad, grilled bread or vegetables. (Save some for the next day’s lunch, too; the smokiness will develop as it sits.)
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ½pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (See Tips)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾cup finely chopped parsley leaves and stems (about 1 1/2 ounces or half a bunch)
- 1cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and torn into various-size pieces
- ¼cup Castelvetrano olive brine
- 1fresh chile, such as Fresno or jalapeño, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Step 1Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking over medium-high heat by pouring the coals onto one half of the grill. For a gas grill, heat all of the burners to high, then turn off one of the end burners before cooking. (See Tips.)
Step 2While the grill’s heating, pat the chicken dry. If the breasts are uneven in their thickness, pound until even with a heavy skillet or meat mallet. Set aside to air-dry. In a rimmed dish or wide, shallow bowl, stir together 1/2 cup olive oil, parsley, olives, olive brine and chile. Using the small holes on a box grater, grate 2 teaspoons zest from the lemon. Add to the bowl, squeeze in half the lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons juice), and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges for serving.
Step 3When you’re ready to grill, season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt, then lightly coat with olive oil. Take the chicken, sauce, tongs and a tightly folded paper towel soaked in olive oil to the grill. Clean the grates with a grill brush, then oil the grates with the paper towel. Grill the chicken until well browned on one side and it easily releases from the grates, 4 to 6 minutes. (If flare-ups occur, move the chicken to an area of the grill where there are no flames underneath. For a gas grill, close the lid between flips, listening and keeping an eye out for flare-ups.) Flip and cook until the breasts register 155 degrees in the thickest part and the thighs register 165 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes for breasts and 4 to 5 minutes for thighs.
Step 4Transfer the chicken to the sauce and turn to coat. Let rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 30. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.