Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Lemon Pesto Chicken

Lemon Pesto Chicken 1

This particular experiment was inspired by not much more than a need to use some basil I had in the fridge before it wilted away. I had a couple of chicken pieces set aside for supper and I decided it would be nice to bake them with a nice pesto marinade. A little lemon zest, I thought, might add a nice little sparkle of flavor…

The Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs. Chicken pieces;
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Basil;
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian Flat-leafed Parsley;
  • 1 tbsp. minced Garlic;
  • 1 tbsp. finely minced Lemon Zest;
  • ¾ tsp. Salt;
  • ½ tsp. ground Black Pepper;
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. Olive Oil;

The Method

Lemon Pesto Chicken 2

Use a mortar and pestle to grind all the flavoring ingredients to a smooth paste, adding the olive oil a little at a time as you do so.

Lemon Pesto Chicken 3

Slash the chicken pieces in several places to allow the marinade to penetrate and then rub the paste all over them, making sure to get some under the skin and deep into the slashes. Allow to sit and marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Lemon Pesto Chicken 4

Bake the chicken on a wire rack at 325 degrees for 60 minutes or so.

The Verdict

Lemon Pesto Chicken 5

A very simple little recipe, with a very pleasant result… I was a little surprised that the parsley turned out to be a little more assertive than the basil, but this actually worked nicely. The lemon zest gave only a hint of it’s presence and although I thought at first that I perhaps should have used a little more, by the end of he meal, I concluded that the subtlety of it was just right. I really enjoyed this supper…



I am a lawyer by profession and my practice is Criminal... I mean, I specialize in Criminal law. My work involves travelling on Court circuits to remote Arctic communities. In between my travels I write a Food blog at

17 thoughts on “Lemon Pesto Chicken

  1. I have to cook western food, preferably Italian style, for my son and Chinese daughter in law when they arrive to visit Ireland with my new grandson in 10 days time and I’m out of practice. So this lovely simple recipe goes straight to the top of the list 🙂

  2. oh, perfect timing! I pick up my CSA shares on Wednesdays and now I’m going to get some free range chicken at the farm! This looks lovely, my favorite chicken is Tuscan Lemon-rosemary on the grill! This sounds even better!

  3. Nice dish! I think it’s the different reaction to heat: parsley intensifies with heat, whereas basil fades. This is why there aren’t many recipes where basil is cooked. Parsley is most often used raw as well, but also sautéed with garlic (this is called trifolato in Italian).

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