Baked Summer Ratatouille
One of the first local recipes we made for the Oregon Food Bank's Eat Local Challenge!
My husband always says (I’m paraphrasing a bit) that there’s nothing so good and so underrated as a well-cooked piece of chicken. He said it when he had Jenn Louis’s fried half chicken at Lincoln last summer. He said it when he made a great pan-seared chicken earlier this month. And much to my happiness, he said it again yesterday.
This meal was never originally intended to become a blog post- it’s pretty simple, but it just turned out to be so good. And I have to thank Dave for giving me the [figurative!] kick in the pants to actually shoot this one. Sometimes I feel bad about making him wait for dinner, and usually his response is to tell me to go shoot it, already. There is no bigger supporter of this whole blog thing than my husband.
I guess you could call this a Greek-leaning dinner (I mean, it’s just chicken!). More importantly, it’s a healthy and delicious dinner.
The best part about it is how great the Panko crust turned out to be – its golden and inviting and a great texture. It’s also just a nice degree of saltiness – it was my favorite part of the meal.
Here’s what you need for two dinners:
– one large chicken breast
– about a cup of Panko breadcrumbs
– salt, pepper, and a few shakes of your favorite dried herbs
– olive oil
– 1 cup Israeli couscous
– 2 cups vegetable broth
– 2-3 Tbsp. feta
– 1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
– squeeze of lemon juice
– a few chopped fresh herbs
Preheat the oven to 375.
Start by heating a few tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet on medium high. In a plate, use your fingers to toss the breadcrumbs with healthy doses of salt, pepper and dried herbs. Dredge the chicken breast in the breadcrumbs (as thickly as you can) and add to the pan when the oil is hot.
Cook the chicken about five minutes on the first side, or until the crust is nice and golden-brown. Flip and continue to cook until the other side is nicely browned as well, and then wrap the chicken in foil and finish in the oven. This will take 15 minutes or more – just cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Start the couscous while the chicken is cooking. Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan. Add the couscous and bring back to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and cover, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Finally, in a small bowl, combine the EVOO, lemon juice and feta. Use a fork to smoosh the feta and create a thick paste-like dressing or sauce. Stir in any chopped herbs you like, such as chives, oregano, basil, parsley or even mint. Or a mix.
Divide the couscous between plates. Slice the chicken into cutlets and also divide – it will make two good-sized servings. Spoon the feta dressing on top. I like to add a side salad, but you don’t need to by any means.