Monday, August 18, 2008

LAZY DAY SUMMER PICNIC ~ PESTO STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS / MEDITERRANEAN SALAD

“We come from the earth,
we return to the earth,
and in between we garden.”
~ Author Unknown

Henry Eilers Strap Petal Black Eyed Susan
(Rudbeckia 'Henry Eilers')
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PESTO-STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS
~ An old favorite, delicious served at room temp ... good for a picnic or lunch on the boat
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8 skinned & boned chicken breast halves
1 lb. fresh spinach
3 finely chopped shallots
2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
Pesto Sauce, divided
1/2 cup. ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 (1/8-inch thick) slices prosciutto
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Flatten each chicken breast to 1/4-inch thickness; set aside.
  • Clean spinach and remove stems. Steam for 2 minutes and drain. Squeeze until barely moist & coarsely chop.
  • Saute shallots in 2 Tbsp. butter until tender; drain. Combine shallots, 1/4 cup Pesto Sauce, ricotta cheese, egg yolk, pine nuts, salt & pepper in bowl; add spinach, stirring well.
  • Cut prosciutto slices in half. Place 1/2 slice on chicken breast half. Spread 2 Tbsp. spinach mixture over and roll up jellyroll fashion, starting with short side. Place seam down on ungreased 13x9x2-inch pan.
  • Combine lemon juice and 3 Tbsp. butter' pour over chicken. Bake, uncovered at 375-degrees for 40 minutes or so, basting occasionally with pan juices. Chill.
  • Combine remaining 3/4 cup Pesto Sauce and mayonnaise. Slice chicken rolls crosswise and serve with mayonnaise mixture. (8 servings)
PESTO SAUCE
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 sliced cloves fresh garlic
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Process pine nuts and garlic in food processor until mixture forms a paste. Add basil and process. Gradually add oil in steady streams until combined. Cover and chill. Add Parmesan. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. (1 cup)
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MEDITERRANEAN SALAD
8 large red & yellow roasted peppers
2 large sliced red tomatoes
2 large sliced yellow tomatoes
hefty handful of grape tomatoes
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or thyme
Romaine lettuce leaves
Line a serving platter with romaine leaves. Slice peppers in half and arrange over romaine. Top with tomato slices and grape tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle olives, feta and snipped herbs over peppers and tomatoes.

9 comments:

Gina said...

Hi Joey.. your black eyes susan's are so pretty and pesto with chicken sounds scrumptious!
I have an award for you on my blog *there is no pressure to post it but just wanted you to have it :D Gxx

joey said...

You are a dear, Gina, and thank you for the award ... a lovely compliment coming from you. I posted it as a direct link to your 'MUST SEE BLOG' ... always a pleasure to visit!

beckie said...

Joey, what a lovely Rudbeckia! I don't think I have seen ths one before, but the thin delicate petals make this one a beauty. Your salad sounds delicious and a great use for all different kinds of fresh tomatoes. Grape tomamtos are one of our favorites any time of the year. Hope you are having a wonderful summer.

joey said...

Hi Beckie ... Henry Eilers is a bit taller and leggier than last year (his first time in my garden). Like many interesting people, he looks much better up close and personal :)

With tomatoes at their peek, I can't get enough, and this simple recipe is delicious.

Regarding summer, my camera was stolen over the weekend and I'm most sad. All photos were downloaded so I have lots to work with but I sure miss my almost 'constant companion' during the gardening season. ;(

Brenda Kula said...

I have never seen a black-eyed susan that looked like that! Very interesting shape! I love that quote. Never heard it before; but it's a keeper!
Brenda

Marysol said...

Joey, I'm sorry about your camera. One can only hope that the freakin' idiot who stole it will brag about it by taking a picture of himself and posting it on Youtube. It's happened.

artistsgarden said...

I love the quote - wonderful pictures as well.
Karen

Anna said...

That is a spicy looking Black Eyed Susan and perfect for the recipe. This is another recipe I copied and will be using. Thank you.

joey said...

Hi Brenda ... Henry is a stud for sure. However, because of his long legs, I must find a better space for him to peer over and not dominate with his knobby knees.

Thanks Marysol. I'm still sad :( but did hear of the kooky thief on YouTube. Still waiting news from the scene of the crime (the vallet and restaurant).

Thanks Karen. As you know, the August garden still holds beauty.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do, Anna. The chicken really is easy and fun company fare that can be prepared ahead of time. Prepare the salad and ... presto ... a lovely presentation, fun to eat!