Chicken in an Herb Garden

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This was a really interesting recipe — I’ve never made anything like this dish, and it was really, really excellent. First, you pound out the chicken super thin and roll them up into what are basically raw chicken cigars secured with toothpicks. Then you poach them in white wine vinegar — something I’d never even thought of before. But it gives the chicken a really interesting note of acid. Then, you let the chicken sit overnight in a bath of olive oil and delicious fresh herbs, so the herbs infuse both the oil and the chicken. Pretty creative.

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The chicken is meant to be served at room temp which is important especially given that cold olive oil isn’t very delicious. This would also be a really great dish to eat in hot weather so you don’t have to heat up the kitchen.

TW’s Tips

  • There’s a fine art to pounding the chicken thin enough without making it fall apart at the edges. Layer between sheets of plastic wrap and pound carefully with a meat mallet.
  • Pick your favorite combo of herbs. Highly recommend sage and rosemary.
  • Don’t breathe in the vinegar while it’s cooking — not fun.
  • Crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment so you can sop up all the delicious, infused olive oil.
  • If eating leftovers, take out of the fridge and let sit for about 30 minutes before eating to come to room temp.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (2 lbs) pounded 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, basil, thyme, rosemary, thyme, sage and mint

Directions

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Tightly roll them up lengthwise and secure with toothpicks at 1-inch intervals.

In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar, 3/4 cup of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the chicken and cook over low heat until just white throughout, 10 to 
12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a work surface and let cool slightly. Discard the toothpicks. Slice the chicken crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds.

In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the mixed herbs and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, turning to coat evenly in the herb oil. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature and serve with crusty bread.

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Hot Weather Meal: White Bean Tuna Salad

I hate to admit it, but San Diego has made me soft. I grew up in New Hampshire enduring weather from opposite ends of the spectrum — from negative temperatures and feet of snow to hot, humid, 100-degree summers to rain, sleet, hail, ice…you name it. But now living in San Diego, I like my perfect 70-75 degree weather quite a lot, thankyouverymuch, and after a week or so of 85-90 degree days, I’ve had it! I’m melting here! (Disclaimer: I don’t have air conditioning in my house and I normally don’t need it — it’s just a few times a year when it’s painful. This is one of those times.) I spent today searching for coffee shops with air conditioning where I could hang out and not be sweating.

The first thing I did when I sat down in said coffee shop? Google search for hot weather meals. I just couldn’t imagine the thought of turning on my oven — or my stove for that matter — and making my little house any hotter than it is already. And I found a great little recipe that made me very happy: White Bean Tuna Salad by Giada. Not only did I not have to cook — I barely had to do anything! It was super easy and really tasty and flavorful as well.

The trick to this is making sure you use chunk light tuna packed in oil — NOT water. It makes the tuna more moist and you get lots of flavor in the oil, which Giada uses as the base for the dressing. Mix the tuna in with canned white beans (easy!), grape tomatoes, capers, some red onion, salt and pepper, and dress with oil/red wine vinegar, throw it on some arugula and you’re good to go! I ate this outside at my table tonight.

TW’s Tips

  • Use oil-packed tuna, not water-packed.
  • I would consider cutting the tomatoes in half. She doesn’t call for it, but it would spread the tomato out so you get some in each bite.
  • I’m not a big red onion fan so I used a small shallot, which is more mild, and it was delicious.
  • The dressing made a lot, so I ended up draining some off at the end. Maybe cut it by 1/3.

Enjoy, and stay cool!

White Bean Tuna Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 (6-ounce) cans dark meat tuna, packed in olive oil
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannelini white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup small capers, nonpareil in brine, drained and rinsed
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 6 fresh basil leaves

Directions

In a large bowl, add the tuna, reserving the olive oil in a separate small bowl. Break tuna into bite-size pieces with a large fork. Add the beans and capers. Into the bowl of olive oil, add the red wine vinegar. You should have 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil – add more extra-virgin olive oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing on the tuna, bean and caper mixture and allow the flavors to infuse while slicing the vegetables. Add the onion and tomatoes to tuna mixture and toss gently.

Place the arugula on a large decorative platter and top with tuna mixture. Tear fresh basil leaves over the top and serve immediately.