Cooking Grilled Chicken With Arugala, Black Olives & Tomatoes

I would have posted this one on Friday, but I wound up having some problems with my first Anthony Bourdain recipe (which I’ll write about tomorrow) and then there was the small matter of getting ready for Hurricane Irene, which I’ll be writing about over on Pop Poppa. Anyway, as I said when explaining this week’s menu, I had cooked Tyler Florence’s recipe for Grilled Chicken with Arugala, Black Olives and Tomatoes before. Back when my wife was pregnant our midwives wanted her to get some more iron in her system and suggested that arugala might be a good way to do that, so I dug around for a recipe that would fit the bill. The beauty of Florence’s recipe is that it’s so simple you don’t really need to do much to come out with a great little meal. I also like that you can do the whole thing in stages and the timing works out pretty well.

A quick note on the ingredients. I would have gotten fresh arugala, but I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market and I would have gotten olives from my local Hannaford’s olive bar, but I have to admit that I didn’t know what actual black olives look like. Everything on there was kinda squishy. So, I went with canned. I’ll try and do a little more research next time. Aside from that the only change I made was using two lemons instead of one because I happened to have an extra one in the house.

I cut my chicken breasts into smaller pieces, trimmed them down and then smashed them between two pieces of parchment paper using a heavy ice cream scoop. We don’t have a meat tenderizer and the idea of using our wooden rolling pin kind of skeeved me out. Then I put them in a long, low baking dish that we have a lid for along with the olive oil, lemon juice (using a whole lemon instead of half), salt and paper and then popped that in the fridge for 30 minutes. In that time I was lucky enough to put the baby down and had her sleeping in her crib which is pretty unheard of, but much appreciated. After that I got to chopping up the tomatoes, olives (drained) and onions. I find veggie chopping to be pretty zen, so this was a nice break. After that I put the crazy simple dressing together, using another full lemon and instead of putting it on the veggies, placed it in the fridge.

From there it was just a matter of cooking the chicken. Luckily we have a cast iron grill pan that fits over two burners, so I got that heating up and oiled when ready. I don’t think I had the heat balanced out exactly because my bigger “quick boil” burner was hotter than my “simmer” burner. No big deal, I just shuffled some pieces around. When they were done, all the chicken got chopped up and mixed in with the salad and topped with the dressing.

Adding the extra lemon in the marinade really made the chicken taste better in my opinion. I dig that lemony zest and really enjoyed as it popped in the salad. I will admit that the arugala itself is a little bitter and it has taken some getting use to, but when mixed with all the other ingredients, that edge is taken back. Overall, I really like this dish, it feels light, but comes with a lot of flavor and makes for pretty good left overs the next day, plus you don’t have to worry about coming up with veggie to go along with your main dish! Highly recommended!

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