Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recreating memories through food...

While on vacation last March, I stumbled upon an amazing appetizer while noshing at one of my favorite outer banks lunch spots – North Banks Restaurant & Raw Bar – a beautifully grilled Portobello mushroom topped with warm goat cheese, roasted peppers and pesto with a balsamic reduction. My husband balked at the lack of meat but loved the flavor combination as much as I did, so I vowed to recreate this with chicken when we returned home. I was a little worried because, honestly, everything tastes better at the beach. You’re sitting down to eat in a cozy booth with your family, happy as clams with sand in their hair and sun-kissed noses capping big, relaxed smiles. But I found with good-quality ingredients, I can bring us back to that fantastic afternoon. Here is my version.

Chicken with Roasted Peppers, Goat Cheese and Pesto with Balsamic Reduction & Kale Chips
4 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 oz Montchevre goat cheese
8 slices roasted red peppers
Pesto – a few drops goes a long way
½ cup balsamic vinegar
kale chips (recipe to follow)

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides and sear until golden brown and almost cooked through – about 6 minutes per side. Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and top evening with goat cheese and roasted peppers. Cook in your oven for a few minutes (this really depends on your oven – my nuclear reactor takes about 3 minutes to cook everything) – until the chicken is cooked through and the goat cheese and peppers are warm.

While the chicken is cooking, add the vinegar to the skillet and reduce to a few tablespoons, scraping the brown bits off the bottom. The vinegar should turn dense and syrupy.

Plate each chicken breast and drizzle a little pesto and balsamic reduction around each. Top with kale chips.

Kale Chips
(Adapted from Roasted Kale Chips with Parmigiano-Reggiano from Whole Foods)

½ bunch kale
½ tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp Kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 350˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Discard tough stems from kale and trim large leaves to about 2 inches (small leaves can be left whole). Toss with oil, chili powder and salt in large bowl and lay on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 10 minutes – the edges should just turn brown.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

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