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Farm Fresh: Tomato topper crowns chicken

Thursday, September 12, 2002

By Mary Miller

With lots of warm evenings left before the leaves fall, we still turn to grilling as an easy and fast way to prepare dinner. But by now, we're usually tired of burgers and hot dogs. These grilled chicken breasts are not only flavorful, but they're also quick and easy.

Butterflying and pounding the chicken breasts eliminates the guesswork that often comes with grilling chicken when one part is much thicker than the rest. The sauce ingredients combine two great end of summer flavors. The chopped tomato mixture is terrific on toasted baguette slices and on cooked pasta, too.

  • Grilled Chicken With Pesto And Marinated Tomatoes

  • 4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2/3 cup homemade or store- bought basil pesto
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, cored
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for brushing
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat a gas grill to high. Butterfly the chicken breasts by making a horizontal cut through the center of the thickest, long side of the breast. Cut almost but not entirely through each breast. Open the breasts like a book. Cover with plastic wrap and pound to flatten slightly to an even thickness. Combine the pesto with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and rub over the chicken in a nonreactive dish.

Cut each tomato in half. Gently remove the seeds with your fingers, coarsely chop the flesh, and put it in a bowl. In a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, basil, remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper. Pour this over the tomatoes and combine well.

Remove the chicken from the pesto, shaking to remove excess marinade, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Grill, turning once, until golden on both sides and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Spoon the tomatoes over the chicken and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Fine Cooking

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