I'm trying to really savor the last vestiges of summer..........the delicious colorful fresh fruits, abundant fabulous seasonal veggies and a beau coup of fresh herbs that I would give my eye tooth for on a dreary January day..........
A sweet friend of mine at work knows how much I love to cook and every couple weeks thrusts her newest issue of Cuisine at Home magazine in front of me. She smiles as I go crazy drooling over all the wonderful recipes. I am always inspired by the beautiful magazine (with no ads!) and when I saw their spectacular looking Raspberry Chicken recipe I knew I had to try it! Grilled chicken and peaches combined with fresh raspberries, candied almonds and melted Brie topped grilled bread; it sounded like a match made in heaven!
The first time I prepared the salad, I followed the Cuisine at Home directions quite precisely. The result was good but I had some ideas to make it better so I made a few changes! I didn't care for the way they marinated the chicken in the raspberry salad dressing as it gave the finished chicken an unappealing pinkish hue so I decided to use my Tequila Citrus Grilled Chicken (yesterday's post) recipe instead. The raspberry dressing was good but I switched it out for my Sweet Basil Vinaigrette which really brought out the summer flavors of the raspberries and delicious caramelized grilled peaches.
The last change I made was to top the grilled bread with fresh mozzarella (in lieu of their Brie) which I marinated in orange and lime zest, a bit of minced jalapeno, a hint of brown sugar and a touch of olive oil (repeating the flavors from the Tequila Citrus Chicken) before allowing it to melt over the slightly charred bread. This salad is delicious and although it is definitely a stretch from the original recipe, Cuisine at Home was my inspiration once again!
P.S. Oh, and if you need dinner to come together quickly you can prepare a majority of this recipe in advance; make the dressing a day or two ahead, prepare and start marinating the chicken early in the day, the mozzarella can sit all day in the delcious sweet zest/oil mixture. You can come home from work, shopping, helping out at school or whatever, and just fire up the grill. Dinner, a fabulous, healthy dinner, will be on the table in no time flat!
Tequila Citrus Chicken with Grilled Peach and Raspberry Salad
FOR THE CHICKEN
1 recipe Tequila Citrus Grilled Chicken
FOR THE SALAD
8 cups baby arugula, or whatever greens look freshest at the market
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 medium ripe peaches
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
candied almonds, see recipe below
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
1 batch Sweet Basil Vinaigrette, you'll have leftovers but you can use this fabulous dressing in a myriad of ways (other than just drinking right from the jar!) :) see this post.
FOR THE BREAD
8 slices from a French baguette, cut ¾ inch thick
6-8 medium fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half (Whole Foods sells an 8 ounce container of these for $2.99)
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
½ teaspoon brown sugar
pinch sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Prepare Sweet Basil Vinaigrette and Tequila Citrus Chicken as directed. When chicken is done and is resting, grill the peaches and bread as directed below.
2. For the bread, combine lime and orange zests, jalapeño, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and oil in a medium size bowl. Add mozzarella balls and toss to coat. This can be done several hours ahead and kept refrigerated, if desired. Brush both sides of bread lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Grill until golden brown on one side and then flip to other side. Place 3 mozzarella halves on each toasted slice of bread. Continue to grill several minutes or until cheese is starting to get oozy.
3. Combine the 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil with the 1 tablespoon of honey. Brush all surfaces of the halved peaches and place on grill. Grill for several minutes on both sides until peaches are caramelized and have nice grill marks.
4. Arrange chicken and arugula on 4 serving plates. Divide raspberries among the plates. Drizzle with the Sweet Basil Dressing. Garnish with a grilled peach half and the grilled bread. Scatter caramelized almonds over the salad. Enjoy!
5. For the candied almonds; place almonds in a small non-stick pan and toast over medium heat until golden. Add sugar and butter and stir until sugar is melted and almonds are coated. Turn out onto a plate to cool.