I recently heard that the three most googled food items as of late are chicken, kale and quinoa, which came as no surprise to me at all. These are popular items, items that are not only figure-friendly and healthy, but ones that most members of a family will eat if prepared in a tasty way.
After the holiday months, I begin developing a real taste for clean, simple and savory flavors, and crave preparing dishes that are different from the richer and heavier meals, at least every once in a while.
Last year's Chicken & Toasted Quinoa Bowls with Veggies were a hit after all of the holiday indulging, and so this season I thought I'd put a couple of the most searched for foods together in a new and irresistible way.
You want chicken? Check.
You want kale? You got it.
I love getting lost looking at those succulent and creatively eye-catching chicken dishes that so often appear in the pages of some of my favorite food magazines.
And though some of those “eye-candy” recipes can look a bit daunting and complex due to some amazing food styling, they're often quite easy to prepare, really, because they contain a fairly short list of good ingredients brimming with lots of great flavor, color and texture.
Dishes like that with their glossy greens, herbs and other bits piled high are probably my favorite, because they have that air of “rustic elegance” about them, something that I find pretty irresistible when it comes to food.
I love the simple and sharp flavors of wine, garlic, clean greens and woody shiitake mushrooms; and I love the burst of a warm, juicy and mildly spicy roasted Roma tomato topped with a little bit of crispy panko and parmesan in my mouth, as well.
It's taking the best of what is simple and good for you, and creating a colorful and boldly flavored wintery chicken dish. It's “eye candy” with benefits of the healthy variety.
So here you find yourself, scrolling through photos of a succulent chicken and kale dish. Perhaps you were someone searching for a new chicken or kale recipe, funny enough; or perhaps it was your nose following that savory aroma emanating from these photos that led you here (“Smell-A-Blog”, anyone?).
Either way, looks like your search for a delicious chicken and/or kale dish may just be over.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Crispy Seared Chicken Breasts with Garlic Kale and Shiitake Mushrooms
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
• 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise to create 4 thinner cutlets
• Olive oil
• Black pepper
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press, divided use
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 8 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• Pinch (or two) red pepper flakes
• 1 cup, panko breadcrumbs, divided use
• ½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons, grated parmesan cheese, divided use
• 7-8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, slices thinly
• ¼ cup white wine
• 2 heaping cups Tuscan kale, finely chopped or shredded
-Preheat the oven to 375°, and line a baking sheet with foil.
-Marinate the chicken cutlets by adding them to a bowl along with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, 2 cloves worth of the pressed garlic, and the lemon juice; toss to combine and coat, and set aside for a few minutes.
-Add the halved Roma tomatoes to a large bowl, and toss them with the balsamic vinegar, 1-2 tablespoons of the olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt and black pepper, and the pinch or two of red pepper flakes; turn them out onto the foil-lined baking sheet, cut-side up.
-Prepare a topping for the tomatoes by mixing together in a bowl ¼ cup of the panko breadcrumbs, the 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan and about 1 teaspoon of olive oil; sprinkle this topping over the tomatoes, and roast them until tender but not mushy, about 20-22 minutes.
-While the tomatoes are roasting, mix together the remaining ¾ cup of panko breadcrumbs along with the remaining ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese, and add it to a large plate or shallow dish; press each chicken cutlet in the mixture firmly, and shake off any excess; repeat until all cutlets are coated.
-To sear the chicken, place a large non-stick pan or skillet over medium-high heat, and add in about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil; once hot, sear the chicken breasts (working in batches of two, if necessary) for about 4-5 minutes on the first side, or until golden-brown, and about 3 minutes on the second side, or until cooked through; remove the cutlets to a plate, and keep warm.
-With the heat still on medium/ medium-high under that same skillet, add in the shiitake mushrooms, and saute them for about 5-6 minutes, or until nicely browned and seared; next, add in the wine and deglaze the pan, allowing the wine to almost reduce completely.
-Add in the kale, and stir to combine with the mushrooms; saute for a minute or two, then add in the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, stir to combine, and once the garlic becomes aromatic, turn off the heat; taste and add a pinch or two of salt and pepper, to season.
-To serve, add some of the mushroom and kale mixture to the plate as a bed, and top with a crispy seared chicken breast; or, top the chicken breast with some of the mixture, and add two, spicy roasted Roma tomato halves.