Friday, May 28, 2010

Lemony Garlic Roast Chicken Breasts and Radicchio Salad with Gorgonzola and Peppered Walnuts

Roast chicken is one of our old standbys.  We tend to keep bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts in the fridge at all times.  Roasting them up takes little to no effort or thought and provides us with a delicious dinner.  Another thing I love about roasting chicken breasts is that you can mix up flavors, seasonings, and herbs to make it a new dish every time.  The most common combination of flavors for us, and the one we used this time, is evoo, s&p, garlic, fresh thyme, and lemon.  The flavors are nice and light, and vaguely Mediterranean.  The only caveat is that if you use too much lemon the skin of the chicken never crisps up and the flavor and acidity of the lemon dominates everything else.

I went a little nuts at the grocery store the other day and bought three beautiful heads of radicchio (mostly because they just looked so pretty).  We used one last night for our Prosciutto-Wrapped Radicchio, but there were two more heads of radicchio staring up at me from the vegetable drawer.  So I decided to make some sort of salad to go with our roast chicken for tonight.  Actually, I gave Alex the option of making a random mixed green salad with leftover romaine or concocting some sort of radicchio salad.  He chose the radicchio over the romaine based on the justification that if we didn't use the radicchio up ASAP we would forget about it.  I think the same rationale applies to the romaine (which we have forgotten about in the past), but I'll go with it.  So I started looking up various radicchio salad recipes and this is the one Alex picked.  We didn't have any Cabrales blue cheese, and I'm not a huge fan of Roquefort, so I substituted Gorgonzola cheese, which I love.  If we had any Valdeon in the fridge I would have thrown that in as well, but our fridge isn't fully back up to speed after Aruba yet, although it is getting close.

Recipes after the jump!

Lemony Garlic Roast Chicken Breasts

2 bone-in, skin-on, split chicken breasts
1/2 tbsp evoo
1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed 
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

Place chicken breasts skin-side up in a non-reactive baking dish large enough to fit both chicken breasts.  Drizzle with evoo and lemon juice, and sprinkle with s&p.  Using your hands, rub the ingredients into the chicken, taking care to rub the evoo under the skin as well as on top.  Sprinkle garlic, lemon zest and fresh thyme evenly on top of chicken breasts.  Rub in.  Cover dish and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Remove chicken from refrigerator 20-30 minutes before roasting.  Place skin side down in a 10 to 12-inch cast-iron skillet.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  When oven is up to temp, put chicken in the oven.  Roast skin side down for 15 minutes, then turn chicken over using tongs.  Roast until the skin is nicely browned and the juices run clear, about 25 additional minutes.  

Remove chicken from pan and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Radicchio Salad with Gorgonzola and Peppered Walnuts
Adapted from Bon Appetit
March 2000

1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 head butter lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 head radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces
8 oz. Gorgonzola, crumbled
2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp evoo

Heat an 8 to 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add vegetable oil.  Once oil is warm, add walnuts, sugar, black pepper, and salt.  Cook, stirring regularly, until ingredients coat the walnuts and you begin to smell the toasting walnuts and black pepper, about 5-8 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow nuts to cool.

Combine lettuce, radicchio and blue cheese in large bowl.  Pour vinegar into small bowl.  Gradually whisk in evoo.  Toss lettuce mixture with vinaigrette.  Season salad with coarse sea salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with walnuts.

Serve immediately.

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