Grilled Chicken with Cherry Tomato & Basil Salsa

7 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Grilled Chicken with Cherry Tomato & Basil Salsa
Well the new year has got off to a great start.  The weather here in NZ has just been glorious so I have been making the most of it with some early morning walks.  I am very lucky to have Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill on my doorstep. That and my fit flops...seriously they do work!  A couple of brisk walks in them and I can most definitely feel muscles in my butt that I didn't know I had!
The park's donor, Sir John Logan Campbell, is buried on the summit of One Tree Hill alongside the obelisk. The park is renowned for its landscape design and its wide variety of mature trees and it is centred on a volcanic cone.  Cornwall Park is named after the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary of England). During the Royal visit to Australia and New Zealand in 1901 Sir John Logan Campbell was asked to be honorary Mayor of Auckland. It was during this visit that he took the opportunity to gift the Park to the people of New Zealand and asked that it be called Cornwall Park and what a lovely gift it was.
It is most definitely time to get back in to my exercise routine as a few kgs must be shifted post all the festive over indulging!  So, with the help of my trainer we are kick starting the new year with some serious work outs, a healthy, but of course delicious, diet and no vino for at least 4 weeks.
Day 2 and all going well and thinking about what virtuous but delicious meals I can cook up.  From, the as ever, wonderful Epicurean Supplies a beautiful bag of mixed basil leaves, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, shallots and garlic.  That says salsa to me and thinking it would be just the ticket over some grilled chicken with a green salad, as also among my organic vegetable treats this week a bag of fresh peas and some very pretty salad leaves.  Plus picked up some organic agria potatoes so thinking of dicing and roasting, with just a smidgen of olive oil, a few garlic cloves and a little rosemary out the garden.
Grilled Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Salsa
Serves 2
1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 shallot, finely chopped (or 2 tbsp finely chopped onion)
1/2 tsp anchovy paste, or 1 anchovy fillet finely chopped, optional but it will add depth of flavour, and those who don't like anchovies won't even know it is there!
1 tbsp good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper taste
2 chicken thighs, I used boneless and skinless being on the low cal road, but skin on bone in would work fine too and be even tastier. Slice each in to 3 pieces.  If extra hungry or small chicken thighs just double up.
Make the salsa a little ahead of time to allow the flavours to infuse.  In a bowl mix together the tomatoes, basil, garlic, shallot,  anchovy paste.  Set aside and allow the flavours to infuse.
Season the chicken and grill on a griddle pan or BBQ until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  
For the potatoes, dice one medium potato per person.  Place on a baking tray with a little oil in a pre heated 190C (375F) oven for a few moments to let the oil heat up.  This will all help get a lovely golden crunch.  Toss the potatoes on the baking tray with 1 tsp chopped rosemary and as many cloves of garlic as you like, unpeeled and season with a little salt and pepper.  Cook for 30 - 40 minutes until the potatoes are golden and crispy on the outside.
To serve plate up the chicken and top with the cherry tomato and basil salsa.  Serve with the potatoes and salad.  Summer on a plate, light, fresh and full of flavour.  Sweet tomatoes, fragrant basil, a hit of garlic, simply grilled chicken works a treat with the crispy rosemary potatoes.


01 January 2011

Happy New Year & Crusty Flat Bread
One Tree Hill, Auckland NZ

And here we are at the dawning of another new year, and what a glorious morning it was.  What a year 2010 was.  Highlights for many, it really was a great year...reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, Rarotonga, Supper Club, Underground Supper Clubs and Secret Underground Tea Parties, lots of fun and interesting cooking classes, Mission Estate Concert, many lovely weekend road trips, an idyllic yoga retreat at Mana, a fabulous few weeks with Mum and Dad when they came to NZ, a wonderful weekend in the coolest little capital in the world with eating at Martin Bosley's, Logan Brown and my favourite Floriditas, a fun filled Christmas in Te Puke, Hogmanay Cardwell style, getting an ice cream maker and of course entering the blogosphere with Toast and becoming even more food obsessed and the pleasure of meeting other food obsessed individuals.  Thanks to you all for visiting Toast and I look forward to sharing more culinary exploits in 2011.
It being the New Year I have decided to aim for a somewhat healthy January, off the vino, in search of lots of fresh, healthy and tasty salad inspiration and a some serious exercise to burn off all the excess of the last few weeks.  That is the plan any way!  So if you're looking for healthy, but most importantly tasty food watch this space as January is going to be salad month.
But before January, being Scottish had to celebrate Hogmanay!
Being a lover of all sorts of bread for a while now I have been wanting to try my hand at bread making.  However yeast, and the proving, fingers crossed it all rises and the kneading have all seemed terribly daunting.  With the 20011 fast approaching time to conquer my fears.  I had seen Annabel Langbein make this one on the Free Range Cook and lucky me was given the cook book as a gift, thanks Mum and Dad.  With Hogmanay celebrations to bring in 2011 some homemade crusty flat bread would be the perfect accompaniment for the ham and coleslaw so time to venture forth in to bread making.
And it worked a treat! Light and tasty with the fragrant rosemary and crunchy sea salt.
Crusty Flat Bread, courtesy of Annabel Langbein - The Free Range Cook
Makes 2 large loaves
Crusty flat bread dough
1 1/2 cups warm, not hot, water
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast granules
1 packed cup cooked mashed potato
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 1/2 cups high grade flour, plus extra for kneading
2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp sea salt

Place the warm water in a large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle yeast over the water and allow to stand for 2 minutes.  Mix in the mashed potato and the olive oil. Stir in the flour and salt and mix until the dough just starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.  Note it is a quite a wet dough so don't be tempted to add more flour.
Turn the dough on to a lightly floured board and using lightly oiled hands knead about 30 times.  Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with muslin or a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours or until it has doubled in bulk.  You can also leave it in the fridge, covered to rise slowly over night.
When you are ready to cook your bread, Annabel uses a baking stone that is put in to a on oven pre heated to 220C.  I don't have one so I just placed on a baking tray lined with the baking papers, and it all worked out fine.  Turn the risen dough on to a lightly floured board, divide in half and shape each half into a ball.  Roughly flatten one ball on to a tray lined with baking paper, pressing the dough out an oval shape about 20 x 25 cm.  Use your fingertips to press dimples in to the top of the loaf, then drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary and sea salt.

Slide the baking paper with the dough on it off the tray and on to the pre heated baking stone, if you have one.  If not just pop the baking tray straight in to the oven.  Bake for about 25 minutes until golden.  When cooked the bread will sound hollow when you tap it.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool. 
Repeat with the other ball of dough.  If you want to save the second ball of dough to use later, place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean cloth and place in the fridge for up to 48 hours.  It also freezes well.  Just thaw fully before pressing out and baking.
It truly is a great recipe and turned out just as it should.  Went down a treat with everyone that tried it.  The rosemary and the salt mean it is full of flavour.
It also makes for a fabulous sandwich for lunch.  I spread it with a little smoked paprika mayo.  Simply mayo with some smoked paprika stirred in, as much or as little as you like.  Personally I love the stuff.  Add a few crisp cos or romaine leaves, some strips of roasted pepper, a little slow cooked and caramelised onion and a few strips of grill medium rare rump steak.  Crunch of the lettuce, juicy steak, sweet peppers and onion all brought together with the smoked paprika mayo, which is what really makes this sandwich.

If the beautiful morning we had here in Auckland is anything to go by it is most definitely going to be a good one...bring it on!

30 December 2010

Asian Chilli and Lime Beef Salad
A lovely big jug of Pimms
Back home after a little Christmas road trip.  Auckland to Te Puke for Christmas...thank you Jenneke, Dan, Erna, Simone, Frances, Mike and co. for a wonderful Christmas Day.  And what a feast we had...
Freshly caught and smoked trout Smoked salmon platter
Being Summer here we veered away from tradition except for the ham, got to have a ham, and we had a veritable seafood bounty.  To start, freshly caught and smoked trout, a smoked salmon platter with all the trimmings, red onion, caper and a mustard dip.  Prawns quickly grilled on the BBQ, little vol au vents filled with chicken,  mushroom and thyme ragu.  Plus cheese platter with homemade chutneys and relishes and some Orange and Thyme Chicken Liver Pate.
Then it was up the coast to Whitianga in the Coromandel to catch up with friends and where I had the pleasure to meet one amazing lady.  My friend Ceeann's, Nana...a true inspiration.  Almost 95, still living at home, still working a couple of days in the local opp shop (second hand shop), playing lawn bowls, card nights and out to dinner once a month.  One truly amazing lady, and having heard about her over all these years it was a real pleasure to finally get to meet her.
After all the feasting on far too much good food and wine, and with  Hogmanay just around the corner with more indulging to come, on return from my Christmas road trip I was in the mood for light and healthy.  I wanted crunch and flavour so this Asian inspired salad hit the spot.  Full of flavour from the marinade and the dressing and a little light relief!
Asian Chilli and Lime Beef Salad
Serves 4
For the steak
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp Mirin (or you could use sherry)
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
500 g (1 lb) rump steak
Salt and pepper
For the Salad
You can tweak here to suit your taste or whatever you have on hand, colourful and crunchy works well.
1/2 a cos or romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1/2 a cucumber, sliced in to half moons, seeds taken out, just run a teaspoon along the middle
2 carrots, julienned
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, julienned
1/2 yellow pepper, julienned
Bunch of herbs - mint, basil, coriander - roughly chopped

Chilli Lime Dressing

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Zest of one lime
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Mirin (or sherry)
1 tbsp finely diced shallot
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the steak: mix together the soy sauce, lime juice, Mirin, red chilli, ginger and garlic in a baking dish large enough to hold the steak. Coat the steak all over and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Take it out the fridge about 15 minutes before grilling to allow it to come to room temperature.
For the dressing: whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so to let the flavours infuse.
I used a griddle pan, but a frying pan would also work. Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry. Season both sides with a little salt and pepper and grill for 2-3 minutes per side until slightly charred for medium rare. If you are not a fan of medium rare just cook a little longer.  Remove from the grill and let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes. Slice into 1/4-inch / 1cm thick slices.
While steak is resting you can make up the salad. Place all the salad ingredients in to a large bowl. Add the steak and half the dressing.  Toss together to lightly coat everything in the dressing.  Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the top and serve immediately.

Bursting with flavour and colour this salad is full of texture and flavour from juicy steak and crunchy vegetables. The dressing is sweet with a little heat from the chilli and then the nutty sesame oil rounds it all off.

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What I've been reading...
  • The Free Range Cook - Annabel Langbein
  • Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume - Silvena Rowe
  • Plenty - Yotam Ottolenghi
  • A Cook's Tour - Anthony Bourdain
  • Al Dente - William Black

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