A Recipe to Ring In Summer: Seared Chicken with Herby Tomato Pine Nut Pan Sauce
Yes, chicken breast can be exciting 🥳
Saltines. Plain, salt-less rice cakes. Maybe oatmeal with a touch of brown sugar. After a bout of food poisoning and successive stomach issues, I’ve been going gentle on my gut. But after weeks of eating bland foods (and as a person who loves food) I was bored. So one night, when I was about to prepare myself another beige plate of brothy risotto and plain seared chicken breast, I veered off course; the chicken breast became a blank, softly peach canvas begging for a zap of color. Some wrinkled cherry tomatoes and a tub of pine nuts caught my eye. I thought of the chives, tarragon and parsley in the fridge, the bottle of dry vermouth gathering dust on the bar cart. A splash of cream at the end. The following recipe is the result, and it’s easy and delicious (and not too tough on the tummy).
Seared Marinated Chicken With Herby Tomato Pine Nut Pan Sauce
For the marinated chicken
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp olive oil, separated
2 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
For the pan sauce
1/4 pine nuts, toasted
One 10 oz package cherry tomatoes, pricked a few times with a knife
1/4 cup vermouth or dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp chives, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream, optional (for a slightly more luxe and naughty pan sauce)
First, make the marinade…
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oregano, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Slowly pour in 1/4 cup olive oil, whisking as you go. Add the chicken breast and marinate for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour.
Next, sear the chicken…
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and place rack in the center. Once the chicken has finished marinating, heat a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet, remove the chicken from the marinade, give it a sprinkle of salt on each side, and add to the pan, reserving the marinade. Sear, without moving, for about 3 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Remove from the pan (set pan aside), place on a sheetpan and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. When done, tent with foil and let rest for 8 minutes.
While the chicken roasts, make the pan sauce…
Place pan back over medium heat, and add the vermouth to deglaze the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining marinade mixture. Add tomatoes and cook until starting to soften, pressing down on them with a wooden spoon to encourage jamminess. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced and slightly thick and saucy. Add the pine nuts and heavy cream, if using, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat and add the fresh herbs, stirring gently. Set aside.
Once, chicken is done cooking, serve…
Slice chicken then spoon the pan sauce over top. Serve with risotto, pasta, or some roasted broccolini.
3 Things I’m Loving This Month
Beach Roses: This time of year, the briny smell of Narragansett Bay is tinged with a faint floral sweetness: fuschia beach roses are in full bloom and rival honeysuckles for their heady scent. You’ll often find me amidst the sea scrubbery, plucking these pink petals for kitchen experiments (and trying to remain inconspicuious, which I’m sure is not the case). My most successful beach rose recipe to date is a delicately floral beach rose lemonade, which I also recently churned into sorbet.
Croc Sandals: Yes, I am the ultimate dork but as someone with high arches and terrible feet, comfy shoes are the way to go. And these wide, semi-ugly (ugly-chic? So ugly they are ironically cool? Help me out, Gen Z-ers) sandals are my shoe of choice when I’m putzing around the house or running a quick errand. And, they’re on sale (and no, I’m not getting any kickbacks from this; the only kickback would be the satisfaction of getting someone else to join me in my ugly but comfy shoe wearing 🤓).
Tangerine LaCroix: With a hot, hot summer on the horizon, I’m fully expecting to drink way too much seltzer. And tangerine is my new flavor of choice; it actually tastes like tangerine (not orange, not clementine, just pure tangerine tang).
Wine of the Month
A new, reoccurring column where I showcase a great wine find in my perpetual quest to expand my repertoire (and in my wake, leave tons of half-full bottles scattered across our apartment 🤪 )
Velenosi Querciantica Lacrima di Morro 2019
Style: Juicy but bold red, not to sweet or acidic, perfectly balanced
Where it’s from: Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, Marche, Italy
Summed up: A well-balanced red that is bold enough to pair with a meaty main but also delicate enough for summer sipping. It’s juicy and has a spiciness and floral note that is both surprising and delightful. It’s one of my new favorite reds!
Tasting notes: Spicy (like rye spicy, not cinnamon candle-spicy), violet, plum, blackberry, cranberry
What to pair it with: A cheese board, steak, bibimbap, barbeque, bouillabase, blueberry pie (all the b’s!) and a hot summer day (chill it first!)