I got off work early last Friday and it was a surprisingly warm day here in Portland. As soon as I got home, all I wanted was to sit outside in my backyard and enjoy the sun for as long as possible. After two hours of relaxing in my lounge chair, thumbing through magazines and drinking some wine, it hit me how hungry I was. I hadn’t even contemplated what I was going to make for dinner and by this time, my motivation level had dropped significantly.
A quick glance through my produce drawer brought to mind an old standby in our house — Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic. This is adapted from a recipe in The America’s Test Kitchen’s cookbook, and it’s even considered “light and healthy.” It’s also easy, versatile and — if I put my ass in gear — I could be eating it in less than thirty minutes.
Now the chicken and sauce alone would take much less than that, but I needed something more substantial. Luckily I keep a jar of farro on hand for times like these. I got a pot of water on the stove and quickly chopped up some veggies to roast (a mixture of brussels spouts, carrots, onion and cauliflower). While the farro cooked, I took a little time-out to have another glass of wine and spy on my neighbors. They are very strange and can put on a good show, so spying is a great time killer.
When everything was about ten minutes away from being done, I got to work on the chicken. The breasts are seasoned with salt and pepper and lightly dredged in flour. I minced two cloves of garlic, thinly sliced four green onions and halved a cup of cherry tomatoes. I kept another handful of tomatoes whole to add a little variation. A lemon and a hunk of parm rounded out my ingredient list.
Get your pan hot (I prefer non-stick) and drizzle in some olive oil. Throw the chicken breasts in. Now the recipe says to pound them but since the oven was already nice and hot from roasting the vegetables, I just figured I’d pop them in there to finish cooking. Once the breasts are just cooked through, take them out of the pan and put them on a plate.
In the same pan, throw in the minced garlic. Be careful because it will cook quickly and you don’t want to burn it. Just give it about thirty seconds or so, until it starts to sweat and smell delicious. Then in go the cherry tomatoes along with a small splash of water or chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and let that cook for a couple of minutes, until the tomatoes just begin to break down. Then toss in scallions, a squeeze of lemon juice and you’re all set!
The recipe calls for blue cheese but I didn’t have any, so once everything was plated up, I hit the whole shebang with some grated Parmesan. Seriously, this dinner is unbelievably simple, but the flavors are so fresh that it never gets old to me. And paired with farro to help soak up some of the sauce, it’s really my idea of heaven.