FOODIE Quickie: Grilled Chicken Breast with Speck, Crimini, and Asparagus
Need something quick, delicious, and healthy to make for a weeknight dinner? Sometimes I try and come up with things I can make for dinner that will use up a bunch of different vegetables before they go bad. I also sometimes try to make something that isn't too complicated (I know, can you believe it? Yes, even me.) Well this is an example of something I would suggest making on that type of night.
You know how you'll see a bunch of different "stuffed" chicken recipes where you have to pound out the chicken breast, top it with some kind of filling, then stretch and contort the chicken into some kind of origami creation to try and envelop the filling? Well on a Wednesday night when I have about 45 free to make dinner, I say F that.
This recipe takes that idea and makes it easy, plus since you're just piling the stuffing on top of the chicken breast... that's right, you can have more. :-)
This is less about the recipe, and more about the technique. You can top this chicken with whatever you need to use up. Pile it high with whatever you like and you'll love it every time.
First, pound out your chicken. To do this, lay your chicken breast down on a plastic or silicon cutting board (these are best for raw meat because you can clean them good with soap and water), then cover the chicken breast with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap prevents chicken juice from spattering all over while you're pounding it out. Take a meat mallet and use the flat side to pound out the chicken breast to about 1/2 inch thickness. Remove the plastic wrap and throw away. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, & garlic powder to taste.
Before cooking your chicken, you'll want to get your toppings prepared. For the mushrooms, clean and slice the mushrooms, then sauté them in about a tablespoon of each: butter and olive oil. Season them with salt, pepper, & fresh thyme. When the mushrooms are done the way you like them, remove them from the pan and set them aside.
For the asparagus, clean them and snap off the woody ends. Dress the asparagus stalks in olive oil and season with salt, pepper & garlic powder. Add them to a hot grill or just use the pan you used for the mushrooms. Cook for just a few minutes so that they're bright green, but still firm and have a bite to them.
Get the other toppings out that you don't have to cook so they're ready when you need them: slices of speck or prosciutto (2 per chicken breast), fresh sage leaves (also 2 per chicken breast), and shred up the cheese of your choice (I used Gouda).
Now you're ready to cook the chicken.
Heat about a tablespoon or so of olive oil in the pan you used for everything else over medium heat. Add the chicken breast to the pan and let it cook without messing with it for a few minutes. Flip it over when the first side is golden brown. Cook the other side until golden brown, too, then turn the heat off from under the pan.
Top your chicken breast with all of your toppings, making the cheese last because it kind of fuses everything together. Cover the pan for a few minutes to melt the cheese. This will I've you a chance to put a quick side salad together. My salad in the picture above is just green leaf lettuce topped with sliced hearts of palm and capers.
To serve, just place the chicken breast on the plate and the salad right there beside it. Easy peasy.
I hope this recipe makes it into your weekly dinner rotation and sparks some creativity in your mind the next time you have to clean out the fridge.
Have a fun and safe Fourth of July weekend everyone!