Sunday, August 8, 2010

Spicy Roast Chicken with Grape Tomatoes and Marjoram

...aka my go to dish for company!

I found this recipe originally in my Bon Appetit calendar and thought it sounded delicious. Trial proved that right! I've made a few changes, namely putting the quantities for serving two people. The original recipe also called for cherry tomatoes and for using a baking sheet, which I can't imagine as you'd risk losing some of the sauce. The tomatoes get extra sweet and intensely flavored, and the garlic and marjoram provide a nice balance.

If you can't find fresh marjoram (and it must be fresh), use oregano since they are similar in flavor. I was able to find a nice little marjoram plant at Whole Foods the other day, along with some exquisite Hanover grape tomatoes.

You'll need a small or medium glass baking dish (which will hold two chicken breasts plus a pint of grape tomatoes), a garlic press (mine is Zyliss-- reasonably priced and works very well), and crusty bread to sop up the sauce (or use rice if you have someone with a gluten allergy). Tweak the amount of salt to your taste and dietary needs. This has always been a hit in my experience!!

Words cannot express how good this dish is so make it straight away. You don't have to tell anyone how easy it is!!

Spicy Roast Chicken with Grape Tomatoes and Marjoram
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts-- not too big!! Cutlets would also work. Make sure to let them come to room temperature before cooking!!
- 1 pint grape tomatoes (Lucky you if you can get some yummy local ones!!)
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 tbsp (add more if you feel you need it)
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed (chopped will not work anywhere near as well so don't even try it, and don't go overboard on the garlic as there is such a thing as too much of it in this recipe)
- a palmful of crushed red pepper flake (adjust to your desired spiciness)
- 1 tbsp fresh marjoram, chopped (plus more if you want some for garnish)
-salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides, placing them in your baking dish.

Wash your tomatoes and marjoram, draining the tomatoes and letting the marjoram dry on a kitchen towel.

Place the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a mixing bowl. Press your garlic cloves right into the bowl, scraping every bit of garlic into the bowl. Measure a palmful of crushed red pepper flake and crush with your thumb to release more of the heat. Add a bit of salt and pepper to your liking. Add the grape tomatoes.

Chop the marjoram. A mezzaluna works really well for this, and I recommend getting one if you don't have one. Throw it into the mixing bowl, reserving what you want for garnish. You will want at least a tablespoon's worth in the tomato mixture.

Toss the tomato mixture and then pour over the chicken breasts, making sure to spread the tomatoes out as evenly as you can get them. Drizzle a bit more olive oil over the top and then place the baking dish in the oven.

Bake at 450 degrees for 35 minutes. It will not dry out, thanks to the olive oil and tomato mixture!

Serve on plates or in pasta bowls with crusty bread alongside. Enjoy!!