OREGANO PESTO CHICKEN BREASTS...WARM FOOD FOR A WINTER'S NIGHT
Here's a relatively quick one for you loyal blogfollowers of A FOOD OBSESSION, a hearty and warm baked Chicken Breast for any time, but great on a January's cold night. Something
about the smell of roasting or baking chicken with herbs and aromatics that turns the chill outside
into something cozy. I'm not a fan of the Winter, however Winter food is always a comfort during
these months we can't go in our pools, wear shorts or swim in the ocean. A simple baked
chicken breast seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper, a little garlic, a bit of olive oil or
a small pat of butter should do it...but why stop there? I was talking to someone yesterday about
Pernil and the vinegar,garlic, salt, pepper and oregano "pesto" you make for it and thought,
I could use that pesto and make the chicken breasts with it. That's how recipes are developed.
Find flavor profiles that match and you can interchange them.. most times you will be pretty suc-
cessful and feel very accomplished. Let's take 4 bone in chicken breasts, preferably natural ones
and rinse them, pat them dry with paper towels.
In a mortar and pestle (go get that...it will be a new kitchen toy that you will be very happy you
purchased) or a food processor. Mash together 4 tbs. olive oil, 3 tbs. good dried oregano,
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 4 finely minced garlic cloves.
Pound this in the mortar until you have a paste (hello, pesto) and with your hands (your best
kitchen tools...please, keep them clean!) in equal amounts spread the pesto between the chicken
skin and the meat. Then rub all 4 breasts (hmm..that doesn't sound too PG does it?) with some olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Rienzi makes a nice red wine Vinegar made with Aglianico
Grapes and it's produced in Basilicata. That's where my Grandpa is from and I have a
soft spot for anything from that region of Italy. I've also visited it and can report to you first
hand that the food is just awesome. Salt, pepper and a rub with a clove of garlic, you are done.
Let this sit for 10 minutes just to have the pesto flavors develop with the chicken in a cool spot or in the fridge. Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees.
make sure you get both sides of the chicken...for maximum flavor, you need to season
both sides so the ingredients permeate the chicken in every way possible.
Now bake for 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170 degress F in the center.
Let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. That very southern Italian blend of Olive
Oil, herbs, garlic and Vinegar is a home run every time in the flavor and tenderizing dept.
This (without the under the skin pesto surprise) was pretty much comfort food growing
up..Mom was always making it in some form.
This provides 4 servings for 4 people.