Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chicken Week Part 2: Arugula Salad with Pesto Dressing

This dish literally flies together.  Just about as fast as you can fry off some chicken tenders, you can cook this dish.  And it grows on you.  (We have a great quick burrito recipe that reminds me of this one for the same reasons) We buy a lot of grape tomatoes.  They are sweet, you can pop them in your mouth for a snack, they roast well and burst when you eat them and they fit well into a lot of different recipes.  The first time I had the salad I thought it was just ok... But then I thought about how healthy it is, how it takes one of the humblest, cheapest cuts of meat, the boneless chicken tender and utilizes it perfectly.  And I love Pesto, such a wonderful salty herbaceous flavor.  Its a healthy dish and for our purposes with Chicken Week, it shows the versatility of chicken because unlike the bone in thighs which are sultry and indulgent but take a long time to braise in order to serve a large table, this dish is light, fast can literally be brought together in 20 minutes or less.  It makes sense for one person for a lunch portion just as well as a light dinner when you're feeling a little rotund.   Plus its a very pretty plate.   You don't have an hour to cook every night but you don't have to sacrifice the integrity of your dish.

8 chicken tenders
Olive oil
salt and pepper
6c Baby Arugula
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2c fresh mozzerella, cubed
lemon juice from a fresh lemon
3 tbsp chicken broth
1/2 c pesto
4 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Toss tenders in a bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.  Let rest from 1 hour. 
Heat large skillet and then add 2 tbsp olive oil. When pan is hot, add the chicken.  Sear on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and rest.
Meanwhile combine the pesto, chicken broth, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse a few times til combined.
Put the fresh arugula in a bowl and toss with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, pine nuts, chicken and drizzle with the pesto.

The salad in the picture shows three tenders.  That is because Matt is a human garbage disposal and can eat more than any human on earth :)

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