Health & Fitness

Avoid oil, and tasty chicken spiedini dish sheds its fat

Whether you order chicken spiedini at an Italian mom-and-pop ristorante or Olive Garden, chances are good the benefits of grilling lean chunks of meat over an open flame will be overshadowed by the dish's overall fat content.

The culprit?

Typically the skewered, breaded kebabs are served drowning in a puddle of olive oil. For instance, one recipe we found online calls for a half-cup olive oil. Another lists 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter.

This recipe for grilled chicken spiedini adds more zesty lemon and spicy pepperoncini, a mixture that balances flavor with a more modest tablespoon of olive oil.

Look for pickled pepperoncini in the condiment aisle with salad dressings, pickles and peppers. You can also find them on some salad bars.

Instead of serving the grilled chicken over a bed of fettuccine alfredo — referred to by the Center for Science in the Public Interest as a "heart attack on a plate" — try it on a bed of noodles lightly dressed in the pepperoncini sauce plus a dab of heart-healthy olive oil, if desired.

Grilled Chicken Spiedini

1/2cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons grated lemon zest, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped pickled pepperoncini

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2/3cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/3cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and olive oil; blend well. Remove 2 tablespoons lemon juice mixture, stir in pepperoncini and set aside. Place remaining mixture into zip-top bag and add chicken breasts. Seal bag, refrigerate and allow to marinate 30 minutes.

Place bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon zest and garlic cloves in shallow dish such as a pie plate; blend well. Remove each chicken breast from marinade and place in crumb mixture, coating well. Carefully cut each breast into 1-inch thick slices and thread onto metal skewers.

Preheat grill to medium-high (400 degrees), allowing coals to burn down to white ash. Grill chicken 9 to 12 minutes, or until fully cooked and meat thermometer registers 170 degrees, turning midway through cooking.

Place on serving platter and drizzle with pepperoncini mixture. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 275 calories (24 percent from fat), 7 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 71 milligrams cholesterol, 19 grams carbohydrates, 32 grams protein, 489 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

The Wichita Eagle—05/10/11