Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baked Chicken, Tomatoes & Olives with Roasted Asparagus

I cried during my commute this morning. Nothing bad happened. I was listening to the latest This American Life which is centered around fathers and their opening story was about a dad showing how much he cared for his daughter by assembling a terrorist attack kit for her to take with her to college in New York. He apparently spent quit some time assembling special equipment for "the box": a NASA blanket, self powering flashlight, potassium iodide pills in case of nuclear fallout.... When she moved into her dorm, her dad brought "the box" tightly sealed and labeled "Winter Coats". She kept the box with her through her first and second year and then decided to open it on her third year to use the emergency $200 to go tanning before a big trip. On top of all the disaster equipment was a letter from her father. It said: "If you are reading this, then something very bad has happened But don't worry because you're going to be fine."

I love this whole story. It makes me cry now just thinking about it. It's just so frigging sweet. Maybe it's because it reminds me of my own dad. Not always knowing how to verbally or physically show his affection, but making a huge effort to not only provide, but to protect his family. My mom has always said that if she was ever stuck on a desert island, or was in an emergency, the one person should would want by her side is my dad.

I would too.

I was going to post about this recipe anyway and it turns out this totally something my dad would eat, following his strict diet rules of no starch, carbs or sugars. But he would have this for lunch the next day, cold, and slathered in french mustard. With a glass of wine.

Dad: "I'll est 11h du matin et la vie est belle."

Baked Chicken, Tomatoes & Olives with Roasted Asparagus
Adapted from Donna Hay's No Time to Cook
Serves 2
From the pictures you can see that I cheated and used what I had on hand- so no mozzarella or proscuitto but bacon instead- and who can argue with that? This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. The chicken, tomatoes and olives are great the next day too- reheated or not.

  • 8oz pack cherry tomatoes
  • 8oz olives, marinated & pitted
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless (or 4 cutlets)
  • 1 ball mozzarella
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • basil leaves
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 tbls parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cherry tomatoes and olives on a cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil and seaon with salt & pepper. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the chicken: if using 2 chicken breasts, slice them in half so you have 4 thin chicken breasts. Cut 4 thick slices of the mozzarella and place them on top of each chicken breast with a few basil leaves on top. Wrap 2 slices of procsuitto around each piece. Remove the tomatoes & olives from the oven and add the chickent breasts on top, seam side down. Bake for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus: bend each stalk until it breaks naturally and discard the bottom half. Toss the asparagus with the olive oil, salt & pepper and scatter on a cookie sheet. Top it all off with some parmesan. Cook in the same oven for about 12 minutes.

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