Sunday, March 22, 2009

Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto

Tonight's dinner was "Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto," from the April issue of bon appetit. I was excited to make this dish because it's finally warming up around here, and the dish enabled me to use fresh produce and the grill on a beautiful, sunny Sunday.

After my shopping trip to Russo's, I spent about 30 minutes prepping (washing lettuce, chopping herbs, slicing the cukes and radishes) and making the pesto and vinaigrette. While the grill heated up, I sliced the baguette, brushed it with oil, and chatted with my daughter. When I stepped outside to grill the chicken and bread, IT WAS SNOWING! I kid you not. It continued to snow on me the entire time I was out there (all of 10 minutes). By the time I got TS (teenage son) off the couch to take a picture of the freaky event, there were only a few flakes lingering and the sun was coming out again.

The dinner was a delicious taste of spring, but I can't put away my ski jacket quite yet.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto
from bon appetit, April 2009

1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves plus 2 teaspoons chopped
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
4 tablespoons pine nuts, divided
5 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
2 teaspoons chopped shallot
6 tablespoons EVOO, divided (I used only 4 T.), plus more for brushing
4 boneless chicken breast halves with skin (I used skinless)
4 1/2-in. thick slices sourdough bread
1 5-oz. package mixed baby greens (I used what I had on hand: romaine, Boston lettuce and baby spinach)
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 cup thinly sliced cucumbers

Place 1/4 cup tarragon leaves, parsley, 2 T. pine nuts, 1 t. lemon juice and shallot in a mini processor and chop coarsely. With machine running, gradually add 3 T. EVOO. Season pesto with salt and pepper and set aside.

Whisk 2 t. chopped tarragon, remaining 4 t. lemon juice and 3 T. EVOO (I used 1 T. EVOO) in a small bowl. Season with salt and papper and set aside. (I shook it up in a jar.)

Brush the chicken breasts on both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (I used McCormick Grill Seasoning). Grill for 3 - 7 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Flip and continue to cook (3 - 6 more minutes) until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest.

Using a clean brush, brush the bread with oil. Grill the bread until dark grill marks appear on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Place greens, radishes and cucumbers in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. Season the salad with salt and pepper. Divide among 4 plates. Cut grilled chicken into slices. Arrange on top of salad. Spoon tarragon pesto over chicken and sprinkle with remaining 2 T. pine nuts (oops, I forgot that part). Serve with grilled bread.

Serves 4.

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