What would you do...
...with a full, fresh, basil plant; a dozen ripe (and i mean beautiful) plum tomatoes; a head of garlic; two onions and four chicken breasts?
The stuff all is so fresh I am inspired to do something great with it.
I think fresh ingredients are best showcased in a simple, minimally cooked preparation...I would make a tomato salad of chopped tomato, garlic, onion, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I would butterfly and pound the chicken breasts, marinate briefly in oil, vinegar, mustard and garlic, then grill. I would serve the grilled paillards on a bed of arugula topped with the tomato salad.
Feather cut the onions and slowly and completely caramelize one and a half of them. Place the other batch of the half cut up onion slices and some finely chopped garlic in a (well incorporated) dressing of red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, a touch of honey, and some olive oil and let stand to tone down the raw onion and garlic flavors. Poach the chicken breasts just enough, let cool, and shred. Pour a bit of the dressing (without the onion) over the poached chicken in a bowl and toss well.
Plate the caramelized onions slightly to one side and top with the shredded chicken and some torn basil. Half and slice the very slightly chilled tomatoes and arrange in a semi-circle fan pointing towards the onion and chicken. Place a few basil leaves on/between each tomato slice, drizzle with the dressing (that includes all of the seasoned onion), top with a few more leaves, and some thin peels of a mild hard cheese of your choice. A final of some fresh ground black pepper and a few chile flakes. ou will have left over chicken for something else.
I also love uncooked pasta sauces in the summer. Chopped tomatoes, olive oil, basil, Parmesan, capers. Cook the pasta and dump over the sauce, toss and serve with more cheese.
Great call, Gio. Quick so it's not heating up the kitchen. I usually have the oven on warm so the chicken stays warm while I'm fixing the sauce.
Slice the onions and caramelize them.
Pound the chicken slightly, season with salt & pepper
Brown them on each side in oilve oil.
Set aside on paper towels..
Sautee, in olive oil, several bulbs of garlic which have been chopped.
Chop the tomatoes - do not core or deseed them - add them to the garlic.
Chiffonade a handful of basil leaves and add them to the tomatoes/garlic along with S & P.
Simmer this till reduced and thickened.
Add back the chicken and onion and simmer till meat is cooked through.
Taste for seasoning and adjust if nec. Sprinkle more sliced basil over top.
Serve over pasta... or simply with a slice of fresh Italian bread to mop up the sauce.