Olive oil adds a delicate bitterness to this chicken recipe that is reinforced by the olives and lemon zest. There are myriad variations: the olives can be replaced by broiled, slightly bitter zucchini, fresh herbs or sweet roasted pepper. Try the sauce over grilled chicken, beef or fish — an easy way to make grilling more gourmet.
12 tbsp good, peppery extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
2 small cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 tbsp finely sliced basil leaves
4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and quartered
10 large green olives, pitted
1 tsp lemon juice
Step 1: Make the marinade by mixing together 4 tbsp of olive oil with the lemon zest, half the garlic and half the basil. Put the rest of the garlic and basil in a separate bowl with 8 tbsp olive oil for the sauce.
Step 2: Trim the chicken breasts of any fat and remove their fillets. Place each breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently beat with a rolling pin until they form 4 thin escalopes. Mix into the marinade with the fillets and season with black pepper. Cover and chill until needed.
Step 3: Place a strainer over the bowl of basil oil. Cut away the tomato seeds, dropping them into the sieve. Strain the tomato juice into the bowl, sieving out the seeds. Cut the tomato flesh and olives into strips and add to the bowl. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. If the tomatoes are very acidic you may not need lemon juice. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Once hot, cook the chicken for 4 minutes on each side. Serve with the sauce spooned over each breast.