This recipe is a lesson in frugality, ingenuity and being able to adapt. I wanted to grill bacon wrapped scallops for Independence Day, knowing scallops would be on sale at our local Fresh Market. But then we were without power for five days that week following a storm that left the Virginia (and other areas) in a state of emergency.
Once we returned to our house and to some sort of normalcy, scallops were no longer on sale and were $15.99 a pound. Well, a pound of scallops would seriously wreak havoc on my budget. So, while at the grocery store, I brainstormed what I could do instead, using the same marinade ingredients with a base of olive oil and lemon juice.
While they are a far cry from scallops, chicken tenders would also do well with my base ingredients. I also got lucky that 3 pound bags of chicken tenders were on sale for 20% off. So instead of paying $16 a pound for scallops, I paid a little over $2.50 a pound for the tenders. My husband and I really liked these, and we're certain the 7 year old would have liked them too. I'll have to remember to make these again when he's here to enjoy them.
A pound of chicken tenders turned out to be 8 tenders for us. The fennel fronds are optional. While I could detect their aroma, I don't think it's worth buying a full fennel bulb just for the small amount of fennel fronds my recipe calls for.
Grilled Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders
1 pound of chicken tenders
4 slices of bacon (half a slice for each tender), cut in half
zest of one lemon
juice of half a lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel fronds, snipped (optional)
In a small bowl, combine zest and lemon juice. Slowly drizzle oil into bowl while constantly whisking the juice. Once fully emulsified, stir in black pepper and fennel fronds.
Lay chicken tenders flat on a platter. Pour marinade over them, turning them once or twice to coat. Let marinate in the refrigerator 1 - 2 hours.
Preheat grill to medium high. Meanwhile, wrap each chicken tender with half a piece of bacon, securing with a toothpick. Grill on each side 7 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
Remove toothpicks before serving.