Welcome to my first post for a wonderful idea called Summer Fest. Some clever bloggers have organized this party over at Pinch My Salt and A Way to Garden to celebrate the produce of summer. Every Wednesday in August a different category will be featured. Corn was highlighted last week and you can take a peek at all the recipe ideas on the participant list on these blogs (and all the others listed on their sites). This is a great way to find new favorite blogs, get fresh inspiration and tap into all the creativity that is coming from some very talented people.
The featured category this week is Beans, Herbs and Greens, so my contribution is this recipe for Chicken Under a Brick with Herb and Garlic Sauce. It's from a featured menu in Bon Appetit celebrating California Cuisine and it's absolutely perfect to celebrate the best of summer. I also make the side that was featured, a Grilled Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette, which also has a bunch of fresh herbs. They were perfect together.
I will definitely be making this dish again. It defines, for me, the essence of summer. I love to grill. I especially love to grill chicken with the skin on so it gets charred and smoky. I'm not sure the brick was necessary, though. That technique might work better for pressing down a butterflied whole chicken, rather than a boneless breast. Mine didn't get too flattened and the brick makes it a little difficult to check underneath to make sure the chicken is browning properly. As you can see, mine is a little on the dark side. It was just slightly more charred than I like my skin, but it was still wonderful, especially with the bright, zingy herb dressing that went with it.
I hope this is inspiring for anyone looking to get the most out of their summer produce. And if you haven't already, start planning that vegetable and herb garden for next year! It is so worth the work to have fresh produce at your fingertips. It makes all the difference in flavor and it's so convenient to just step out the back door and have what you need on hand. Right now I'm growing mint, rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, chives and dill. And I love them all.
And don't forget to take a peek at what's happening at Summer Fest 2010. Just click here to join the party. Start planning how you're going to use all those zucchini, corn and tomatoes; summer flies by in a blur of sun, cook-outs, and vacations. I'm planning on soaking up the season the best way I know how: eating it!
Chicken Under a Brick With Fresh Herb and Garlic Sauce
12 garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1 1/2 c. (packed) Italian parsley sprig tops
1/3 c. white balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. (packed) fresh mint leaves
1/4 c. (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. dried crushed red pepper
1 c. olive oil
8 large boneless chicken breast halves with skin
Nonstick vegetable spray
8 bricks, wrapped in foil (optional, in my opinion)
Cook 8 garlic cloves in boiling water 2 minutes. Drain garlic. Place in processor and cool. Add remaining 4 garlic cloves and next 6 ingredients. With machine running, gradually add oil, blending until thick sauce forms. Season with salt. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag. Add 1/2 cup sauce and turn to coat evenly. Chill at least 1/2 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally. Spray grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place chicken, skin side down, on grill. Top each piece with 1 foil-lined brick. Grill until skin is golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken over; grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Arrange chicken on platter. Spoon some sauce over. Serve, passing rest of sauce separately.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. chopped parsley
1 T. chopped chives
1 T. chopped basil
1 T. chopped dill
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. lemon juice
3/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
20 asparagus spears, trimmed to 5" lengths
8 green onions, green tops trimmed
4 medium zucchini, each cut lengthwise into 1/4"-1/3"-thick slices
2 large ears corn, husked
4 medium heads of Belgian endive
2 small heads of radicchio, halved through core
6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Olive oil (for brushing)
For vinaigrette: Combine first 9 ingredients in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil; season with salt and pepper. For vegetables: Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Arrange all vegetables on baking sheets. Lightly brush all vegetables with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill asparagus, green onions, zucchini, and corn until lightly charred and just tender, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes for corn. Return vegetables to same sheets. Grill endive and radicchio until lightly charred, turning often, about 8 minutes. Transfer to baking sheets with other vegetables. Place tomatoes, skin side down, on grill and cook until just charred, about 3 minutes. Turn tomatoes; grill until just beginning to soften, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to sheets with other vegetables. Cut asparagus, green onions, and zucchini crosswise into 1-inch pieces; place in large bowl. Cut corn kernels from cobs; add to bowl. Cut endive in half lengthwise. Remove cores from endive and radicchio. Chop into 1/2"-to 3/4" pieces. Add to bowl. Coarsely chop tomatoes. Using slotted spoon, add tomatoes to bowl. Mix vinaigrette into vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.