Chicken with Arugula Pesto

My cousin Claire is a wonderful cook. The most perfect lamb chop I have even eaten was at her table one Easter.  The last time we made brunch, she brought over homemade lavender-dusted scones. She is precise and careful and thinks nothing of trying a recipe from Julia Childs’ Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

I love to cook as well. My forte is using fresh ingredients and getting food on the table quickly.  In contrast to Claire, my most used cookbook is Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint Cookbook, a great little guide in which most recipes have about six ingredients and can be made in less than 15 minutes.

Despite our differences in style, we  love to share meals and cook together.  When I learned that the farm where I get my veggie share offers free cooking classes to their CSA members, I signed us up.

After registering, I discovered that the focus of the class was making homemade pasta.  A real treat – and so not paleo.  So last Sunday, I learned some great tips to make three types of delicious pasta which I will probably never make again.

However, I did learn how to make one amazing thing that immediately wanted to make again – arugula pesto.  The flavor was so spectacular that my mouth was startled by the explosion of intense, spicy flavor.  It was so remarkable that I briefly contemplated if anyone would notice if I snuck off with the whole bowl of the bright green goodness.

I love all fresh pestos but this one really delighted me because it was interesting and different and insanely simple.  The only ingredients were farm-picked arugula, lemon juice and olive oil.

The recipe below pairs this simple pesto with chicken for a perfect, quick summer evening meal.  (Be aware though, arugula is peppery.  If you aren’t into strong flavors, proceed with caution.)

Chicken with Arugula Pesto (adapted from Gigia Kolouch via Pastures of Plenty cooking class)

To make Arugula Pesto

Arugula, about 4 loosely packed cups

Juice from ½ lemon

Olive oil, 1/2 cup

Salt, ½ teaspoon or more taste

  • Mix all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

To finish the meal –

Chicken breasts, 2

Shallot, diced, 2 tablespoons

Capers, 2 tablespoons

Cherry tomatoes, about 30, diced in half

  • Cook chicken breasts in oven at 350 degrees until cooked through, approximately 30 minutes or so depending on size.  When chicken is done, cut it into bite sized chunks.
  • Put chicken, shallots, capers, and cherry tomatoes into a large bowl.
  • Add 2/3 cup of arugula pesto.  (Save the remainder for another meal or freeze for later.)
  • Mix together.
  • Done!  Summer perfection on your plate.