Saturday, 24 December 2011

Chicken Breast with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

And the "Lazy-Ass Roast Chicken Breast" technique is back! And it features some of my favorite things in life: asparagus, cherry tomatoes and white wine. Who says laziness doesn't have it's rewards?

The evening my Christmas vacation started, I was delighted, but exhausted. All I wanted was my plush robe, my cat and a drink (it happens to punks, too). But I was also hungry... Lucky for me and other lazy bums out there, this dish comes together in a matter of minutes; then you toss it in the oven and eat it. Plus, once you have that bottle of white wine open, why not drink what you don't use to cook?

Asparagus are one of my favorite veggies: crunchy yet soft, with a delicate flavor. I generally prefer them steamed with a squeeze of lemon juice, but the roasting gives them a nice crunchy bite. As for cherry tomatoes, can you find a cutest vegetable than these guys? They are some of the only tomatoes out there that still tastes of anything (unless you grow them yourself). You can toss them in salad, pasta sauce or just pop them as a snack. What's not to love?

This recipe serves one, but it is easily doubled and can make a great romantic meal! It's simple and elegant, and it's so delicious that no one will ever guess it was so easy to make. The chicken is great by itself, but a bit of wild rice makes a perfect side-dish. Originally from "Cook with Jamie", by Mr. Oliver:

1 boneless chicken breast
8 sticks of asparagus, trimmed
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small bunch fresh rosemary
Olive oil
Sea salt and ground pepper
Dry white wine (C'est La Vie chardonnay-sauvignon is my favorite wine for this recipe)
Balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the chicken breast in a large bowl. Add the sticks of asparagus, the cherry tomatoes and the leaves from 1 sprig of rosemary, plus a whole sprig of rosemary as well. Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss everything with your hands. Put the vegetables at the bottom of a small, square Pyrex dish, and place the chicken and the whole sprig of rosemary on top. Season well. Add a few glugs of dry white wine and cook in the middle of the oven for 25 to 35 minutes. Serve drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

You can give it a Greek twist by adding a handful of pitted Kalamata olives to your veggies, then crumble some feta cheese over the chicken when it's fresh out of the oven.

When I cook chicken like that, it is always incredibly tender and juicy, and the little tang of the balsamic vinegar balances out the sweetness of the vegetables, of which there are plenty to feast on. The cooking juices get soaked up in the rice... So yummy! The meat will dry out if re-heated, however, so only makes as much as you need.

Keep this recipe up your sleeve for nights when a quick, nutritious and awesome meal is called for... or for when you want to seem like the greatest chef ever without lifting a finger!

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