It’s only the middle of summer, so there’s plenty of time to experiment with seasonal vegetables and create healthy, simply delicious meals. Last night’s menu consisted of marinated, grilled chicken and vegetable gratin with summer squash and tomatoes. The chicken came out moist and tender, cooked to perfection and the veggie gratin made for a festive, colorful, fresh side.
For the chicken marinade, I threw the below into a zip lock bag and added 2 chicken breasts for about two hours.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sesame seed oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper
After marinating the chicken, turn on the BBQ and wait until it reaches approximately 400 degrees. Grill on both sides for about 15 minutes total, depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts. Either test the internal temperature of the chicken (minimum of 170 degrees) or when the juices run clear, but there isn’t an excess of moisture.
Vegetable Gratin (serves 2-4)
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 zucchinis, ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see note)
1 summer squash (yellow), ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see note)
2 tsp table salt
1 1/2 lbsripe tomatoes (3 to 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onions , halved lengthwise and sliced thin pole to pole (about 3 cups)
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 c of bread crumbs (seasoned is better)
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
6 fresh basil leaves, chopp
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 13- by 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil; set aside.
2. Toss zucchini and summer squash slices with 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; transfer to colander set over bowl. Let stand until zucchini and squash release at least 3 tablespoons of liquid, about 45 minutes. Arrange slices on triple layer paper towels; cover with another triple layer paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible.
3. Place tomato slices in single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes.
4. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and dark golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Set onions aside.
5. Combine garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and thyme in small bowl. In large bowl, toss zucchini and summer squash in half of oil mixture, then arrange in greased baking dish. Arrange caramelized onions in even layer over squash. Slightly overlap tomato slices in single layer on top of onions. Spoon remaining garlic-oil mixture evenly over tomatoes. Bake until vegetables are tender and tomatoes are starting to brown on edges, 40 to 45 minutes.
6. Combine bread crumbs, remaining tablespoon oil, Parmesan, and shallots in medium bowl. Remove baking dish from oven and increase heat to 450 degrees. Sprinkle bread-crumb mixture evenly on top of tomatoes. Bake gratin until bubbling and cheese is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and let sit at room temperature 10 minutes before serving. (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)