Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A Summer Invite
The smell of sunscreen, the birds chirping outside my side patio, the bright blue sky…Ah, summer’s arms are wanting to embrace us. As I was having my morning coffee on the patio, I was thinking about what I could make for dinner to jump start our taste buds into the new season. I laid my head back, let the sun kiss my face, and as I lowered my chin my gaze fell upon the vivacious green leaves of the newly sprouted basil. And PRESTO! The dinner conflict was resolved in an instant with a delicious bowl of PESTO!
I just love the bright green color and kick it gives to so many dishes. I use it as a spread for sandwiches, top pasta with it, serve it up appetizer style for a group...the possibilities are endless. You can freeze it in cubes and save it but there is never a leftover dollop in site over in this kitchen!
Tonight, it will be a crust for chicken thighs. A delectable invitation to summer if I must say. There are so many different ways to make pesto, so choose your favorite, or follow my simple recipe below. This dinner was so easy and quick. I enjoy the decadent taste of bone in chicken thighs and I think it has more flavor, however you can subsitute chicken breasts, bone in or sans bone, just as easy. I served it with a salad to keep it simple.
Basil crusted Chicken Thighs
•4 organic, free range chicken thighs, skin on
•Fresh cracked pepper
•Extra Virgin Olive Oil
•Basil Pesto (recipe below)
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
Heat Olive Oil in the pan. Sprinkle cracked pepper onto the chicken thighs and place skin side down in the pan. Brown both sides (should take less than 5 minutes). Place in baking dish skin side up and coat each piece with basil pesto.
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes and presto!
•3 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
•1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
•4 garlic cloves, peeled
•Extra virgin olive oil, as needed ( I am pretty liberal with it )
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan
•Pinch of sea salt
Toast pine nuts in the oven at 350 for about 7 minutes.
Put the pine nuts, garlic and about ½ cup of olive oil into a food processor and pulse. Add basil and parmesan and pulse until smooth (adding olive oil as needed).
Taste test. I add a dash of sea salt but the parmesan does give it enough salt for some.