Growing up one of my favorite meals my mother made was called Lime-Grilled Chicken, and believe it or not, it was a very old Weight Watchers recipe from the 1980’s. Chicken marinated in a heck of a lot of lime juice, a smashed clove of garlic, grilled, and topped with honey-butter (though I’m certain it was margarine in those days) – what’s not to like?
When I had my restaurant, I created a version of her chicken I titled Citrus-Honey Chicken, and that is actually what I served to guests at Brian and mine’s wedding (our reception was at my restaurant, naturally). Lime was still in there, but so was pineapple and orange.
Eventually that evolved again and I made a Tropical-Honey Chicken with mango and passion fruit flavors. Truly, the possibilities for fruit here are endless.
Today, in honor of my beautiful Meyer lemon tree I just had the pleasure of receiving (dream come true!), we’re making Lemon-Honey Chicken. Same method. Different citrus. Still delicious.
You can mix-up the sides, naturally, but honestly, the reason I served this at our wedding is because this was one of the first meals I ever cooked for Brian. He ate everything on his plate, went back for seconds, and pronounced it, “the perfect meal.” Why mess with perfection?
Yield: 6 servings
3 chicken breasts, 6-8 ounces each
sea salt and fresh pepper
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 C meyer lemon juice
1 T meyer lemon zest
3 cloves garlic, smashed open
2 T honey
4 T melted butter
1/4 C honey (to taste)
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t lemon zest (optional)
Combine all ingredients with a wire whisk in a glass bowl large enough to accommodate the chicken breasts.
Your goal is to make 6 normal portions of chicken out of 3 supermarket sized breasts, which are usually larger than portion-size. To do this, halve the chicken in butterfly-fashion by cutting evenly across the middle of it lengthwise so that you can get two distinct breasts. You aren’t cutting slices across the top, but rather holding the top of it with the palm of your hand and running the knife underneath your hand evenly between the top and bottom portion of the chicken. This will give you two even breasts. Place your breasts into the marinade. Cover and refrigerate several hours, or overnight.
Make the sauce while the chicken cooks by melting the butter in a pan, adding the honey and lemon juice, and whisking until well-combined.
Assembly & Cooking-
I recommend grilling the chicken, though in a pinch you can place it under the broiler of an oven. Cook until chicken is fully cooked. Serve with herb and butter noodles, steamed peas, and honey sauce for drizzling.
Herb and Butter Noodles
Yield: 6 servings
1/2 pound noodle of choice, I’ve used everything from thin spaghetti to egg noodles
4 T salted butter
3 green onions, chopped or 1 t dried chives
2 T fresh tarragon or about 2 t dried
3 T fresh italian flat-leaf parsley or about 3 t dried
sea salt and pepper to taste
Prepare noodles in boiling salted water, drain. Set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Let brown slightly, just about 1 to 2 minutes. Add fresh chopped parsley, tarragon and green onions and cook 1 minute. Add cooked noodles, season, and toss to combine. I will often drizzle the honey-sauce over my noodles, too.
The last bit to this perfect meal is simple steamed, buttered peas.