Friday, August 27, 2010

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts with Tomato and Basil and Potatoes with Peppers and Onions

Holy long name for a recipe, I know, but hey it tells you exactly what the recipe is, which I suppose is nice when you are searching for something to make. This recipe combines all kinds of ingredients and seems a bit random at first, but once everything is cooked and plated it looks beautiful and tastes fantastic. And if you have a vegetable garden outside you can probably find several of the ingredients out there.

Hint: In the directions it says to make sure the skillet is hot when you begin cooking the chicken, this is very true, the cheese will stick better this way. Because of the high heat the cheese gets crispy quickly, rather than just melting; the crispy cheese is a must!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts with Tomato and Basil and Potatoes with Peppers and Onions

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray
Pictures by Caroline
makes 4 servings


1 1/2 to 2 pounds fingerling potatoes or red skin baby potatoes
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 poblano pepper or other mild green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow skinned onion, thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, cracked away from skin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse salt and pepper
2 cups shredded Parmesan, available in tubs near deli -- make sure to get shredded cheese, not grated
2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, filleted or 4 breasts pounded thin
4 plum Roma tomatoes or small, vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
15 to 20 leaves fresh basil, pile leaves, roll then thinly slice -- chiffonade

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Cut fingerling potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on thickness of fingerlings -- thin, small fingerlings may also be left hole, larger potatoes should be quartered to speed cooking process. If you are using small red potatoes, halve or quarter them in the same way.
3. Cover a large cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place potatoes on cookie sheet. Combine with peppers and onions, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Coat the potatoes, peppers and onions with extra-virgin olive oil just enough to coat vegetables in a thin layer, 2 to 3 tablespoons. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place potatoes in the oven and roast 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are just tender and peppers and onions are crisp at edges. Toss mixture with tongs, turning the potatoes half way through cooking time. When the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a serving dish and peel the foil off the cookie sheet and discard for super-quick clean up!
4. While potatoes cook, prepare chicken. Roll out a 2-foot piece of waxed paper or foil near the stove top. Or, use an 8x8 baking dish.
5. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat -- your pan must be very hot when the chicken is added. Pile the shredded cheese on the work surface created with the waxed paper or foil. Season your chicken breasts with black pepper but no salt; the cheese will add enough salt to the taste of the dish. Press the breasts firmly into the cheese. Coat both sides of breasts with as much cheese as possible. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet, turn the pan to a medium heat while cooking, but make sure the pan stays hot enough to fry the cheese, rather than just melting it. Set breasts into the skillet and cook 7 minutes on each side, until cheese forms an even, golden casing around the tender chicken breasts.
6. While chicken cooks, combine chopped tomatoes with basil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to your taste.
7. Drain off any excess oil from chicken as you remove it from the skillet. Top chicken with big spoonfuls of raw sauce and serve with potatoes, peppers and onions.

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