By Popular Demand...
Hello All! Isn't it crazy how fast summer goes? Even a summer in a pandemic where we don't have festivals and concerts and big parties! I'm grateful this summer has FORCED me to take it a bit slower and to really spend my time doing things that I felt like I never got to do enough because I was constantly fitting in all the summer festivities and such with friends and family. Both are fantastic; but this summer has shown me more much needed rest and relaxation and somehow it still feels like it's going too quickly.
Two of those things that I love to do are gardening and cooking. Especially when the two can go hand in hand and right now- boy are those tomatoes keeping me busy in the gardening and cooking department! I'm sure so many of you are in the same boat as it's peak season for that delicious red fruit (yes, fruit! lol).
Now I LOVE me a sliced, ripe tomato on just about anything with a little olive oil and flaky sea salt, BUT sometimes with all these tomatoes, we need to use them up faster to keep up with the production of August tomato plants! I love to cook them in many ways, but one of the easiest is to just sauté them with some garlic and/or shallots and olive oil and use them as a topper for grilled bread with some creamy burrata and fragrant fresh basil, or with pasta, rice, or mixed in with eggs in the morning with your choice of cheese is also delicious! So the other day, I decided to use up my most recent haul of cherry and grape tomatoes.
You may have seen in my stories a short version of the dish I made, Pan seared lemon chicken with sautéed tomatoes and roasted cauliflower. After many of you commented and requested the recipe, I decided to post it here on the blog for you BY POPULAR DEMAND! Since I didn't start out planning it to be on the blog, I didn't take photos of the process but I do have a photo of the finished dish I will share here with you. And I promise I'll do better about documenting some good recipes in the future so I can share all the tips and tricks I've learned as an amateur (but obsessed with cooking) home chef!
For now, here's the yummy garden tomato inspired dish I posted the other day. Keep in mind, this recipe is something I just made up and I think would serve at least 4 people or so.
Pan Seared Chicken with Sautéed Tomatoes & Roasted Cauliflower
4 Organic Chicken breasts (I used 2 large ones and cut them in half)
Halved Grape and/or Cherry Tomatoes- as many as you want!
Fresh Oregano- or dried is fine too- finely chopped
A few cloves of garlic- finely chopped
Cauliflower- one head, cut into smaller florets
Vegetable oil- a few tablespoons
EVOO- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- for drizzling
Red Pepper Flakes- Optional
Lemon juice- half the juice of one lemon
White wine- 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Chicken broth- I use low sodium organic- about 1/2 cup
Cream cheese- great thickening and flavor agent- just need a spoonful or two
Parmesan cheese - get fresh piece and grate it right into the dish
Fresh herbs like oregano, basil or parsley for garnish or to chop up and sprinkle on top
S&P- Salt and Pepper y'all!
HOW TO MAKE IT:
1. OK, so first things first. I took two large chicken breasts and cut them in half on a plastic cutting board- it's just personal preference/portion control to size them how you want (plus they will cook faster if made smaller). Set a sheet of parchment paper over the chicken and then use a meat tenderizer, rolling pin or heck, even a wine bottle to pound the chicken down to 1/4" thickness. You don't want to pulverize or of have it lose it's shape so be somewhat gentle. Also, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate or in a bowl (I like Italian seasoned ones). You can always add more if needed. Coat the chicken pieces in the breadcrumbs so they are fully covered and shake off any access, set aside. You are probably wondering why not egg and flour coating stages before the breadcrumbs? And the answer is, you can do that too! But I recently tried a recipe that skipped those and just did breadcrumbs and the chicken was just as good! Saves time and less dishes!
3. On a baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper and a little bit of that chopped garlic. Once coated, place in oven. Cook until slightly fork tender or your preference.
4. In a large pan, heat up the vegetable oil. Medium high should be good but keep an eye on it and watch for splattering hot oil! Once hot, place the chicken pieces in the oil. Brown on both sides, then remove and set aside.
5. Add the tomatoes and chopped garlic to the pan. Add a little sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir it up for minute until you can really smell the garlic deliciousness- but don't burn it! Add the white white to deglaze the pan while scraping up all the brown bits leftover from the chicken- this is BUILDING FLAVOR! Let the tomatoes get soft and the wine reduce to about half or less of what it looked like when you poured it in.
6. Add a spoonful or two of cream cheese to the mix and whisk it so work out any clumps as it melts. Now add some chicken broth and whisk or stir as needed to even out the sauce.
7. Place the chicken back into the pan and nestle them into the tomato goodness. Add a couple squeezes of lemon juice and keep stirring a bit here and there. This is where I often add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
8. Now it's time to grate some of that amazing fresh parmesan cheese into the mix. Also, time to finish that cauliflower but squeezing a little lemon on it (and some of that parm if you're feeling sassy!)
9. Now plate the chicken and tomato mixture and I like to squeeze some lemon on it. Then the cauliflower and don't forget to add the herb garnish or chopped herbs on top and you're ready for a delicious, fresh, summer meal!
Obviously this meal is pretty low carb so if you wanted to add pasta or a rice it would be equally as delish!
Thanks for bearing with me for my first recipe! I will be posting more and will be sure to have more photos and better descriptions next time! And if you try this recipe, please comment and let me know what you think :)