Grilled Thai Chicken Breasts with Herb Lemon Grass Crust
1 ½ c. chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems), divided
3/4 c. coconut milk
1/4 c. finely chopped lemon grass (from 2 stalks)
12 fresh basil leaves
3 Thai bird chilies (or substitute 2 jalapenos or 2 medium serranos), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 T. kosher salt
2 t. packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 t. ground coriander
12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (remove the tenderloins if still attached)
2 limes, cut into wedges, for serving
In a food processor or blender, combine 1 ¼ c. of the cilantro with the coconut milk, lemon grass, basil, chilies, garlic, salt, brown sugar, black pepper and coriander. Puree until smooth.
In a nonreactive baking dish or wide bowl, arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer. Pour the marinade over the chicken, then turn the breasts to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or up to a day.
When ready to cook, heat a gas grill to medium-high or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Lightly oil the grill rack.
Grill the chicken until it has dark grill marks on the first side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until firm to the touch and completely cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes more.
Transfer the chicken to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve with lime wedges.