NOTE: I posted this recipe ages ago, but am adding the pesto-making step now that I have a ton of fresh basil and, well, this week's contest is basil! The recent warm weather and approach of spring, plus the fact I had a great caprese salad recently at a restaurant, puts me in mind of one of my favorite light lunch or dinner entrees. Pretty enough for a party, or the chicken can be cooked ahead and refrigerated for assembly into a quick lunch or dinner. I wish I had a photo to show you.... —Kayb
large boneless, skinless chicken breast filet
ricotta or mascarpone
extra virgin olive oil, divided
fresh ground pepper
splash of balsamic vinegar
minced fresh basil
basil leaves, plus more for garnish
walnuts or pine nuts
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 350. Pound chicken breast to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness, and trim into a rough rectangle. Pat dry. Mix mascarpone or ricotta with pesto and spread to within 1/2 inch of edge of cutlet. Starting from a narrow end, roll into a cylinder. Tie with kitchen string in two places.
Dry outside of roll and brush with 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Roast in oven for about 25 minutes; remove, tent, and allow to cool. When completely cooled, either refrigerate until needed or slice in 1/3 inch slices. There should be 6 to 8 slices.
Choose tomatos about the same diameter as your chicken pinwheels, cut cheese to a similar size. Slice each about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Assemble salads by making a stack of a chicken pinwheel, a cheese slice, a tomato slice, and repeating until you reach the size you wish. Then lean the log to one side, causing the slices to form a neat little layered row, Or arrange them however you wish.
Drizzle with remaining EVOO, add a splash of balsamic, a little more salt and pepper if you want. I love to garnish it with an assortment of olives and a chiffonade of basil leaves.
TO MAKE PESTO: Crush garlic and roughly chop walnuts. Combine in food processor with lemon juice and enough olive oil to make a rough, loose puree. Add basil and process until blended, adding olive oil slowly until the texture you want is achieved.
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!