lettuce, sliced tomato, and red onionoptional toppings
¼cupbasil leaveslightly packed (about 15 leaves)
Lemon pepper chicken
Carefully slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise to create four thin pieces (as if you were butterflying them, but continue slicing all the way through). Or, pound thick chicken breasts down to 1 inch thickness.
In a bowl (or a sealable plastic bag), add oil, salt, and pepper. Zest entire lemon into bowl. Then, slice lemon in half and juice lemon into bowl. Add chicken and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours (do not marinate for more than 3 hours). Meanwhile, make your aioli (directions below).
Preheat grill to medium-high heat, about 375 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. If needed, clean grill grates.
Wipe grill grates lightly with oil, then place marinated chicken perpendicular across the grill grate (optionally, add buns around the edge of the grill to toast. This will take about a minute or less - bread browns quickly). Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes before flipping. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Rely less on time and more on the temperature and look of your chicken to determine when they're done. Grill temperatures and conditions can vary greatly.
Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before assembling sandwiches. Spread basil aioli over buns, add chicken, and top with lettuce, tomato, and onion. Serve warm.
In the bowl of a food processor, add mayonnaise, basil leaves, garlic cloves, lemon juice, and salt. Cover and blend until smooth. (If you don't have a food processor, mince basil leaves and garlic cloves as small as possible, add to a bowl with remaining ingredients, and whisk until incorporated).
Cover and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or more) to allow flavors to meld.
Chicken should not sit in marinade for more than 3 hours - lemon marinade is very acidic and will begin to break down the chicken, causing it to become mushy.
Leftover chicken will keep for about 3 to 4 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to check your chicken for doneness and to prevent overcooked/dry chicken.
This marinade can be doubled or tripled for a large crowd.