18 July 2008

Herb Crusted Chicken, Spinach Gnocchi with Goat Cheese Cream and Carmelized Onions

The only thing I knew I was going to make for dinner tonight was an herb rub. I read a few different recipes in Real Simple and I really wanted to try one. I had chicken in the fridge, so that became the vehicle I would use to deliver the herb rub. Everything else was in my fridge...it all just comes together.

Here are the recipes:

Mediterranean Herb Rub (as published in Real Simple magazine)

2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Herb Crusted Chicken

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 batch Mediterranean Herb Rub
2 teaspoons olive oil

Rinse chicken breast and pat dry with paper towels. I place plastic wrap over the chicken, then beat it until it is about .25" thick and even. Lightly coat with half the olive oil, press rub into chicken breast. You can cook it immediately or let it sit for up to two hours, as I did. Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Drizzle the skillet with the remaining olive oil and add the chicken to the pan. Cook the chicken five minutes on the first side, three minutes on the second side - you may need to cook it longer in order to ensure it is cooked through.

Spinach Gnocchi with Goat Cheese Cream and Carmelized Onions

2 c. homemade spinach gnocchi
2 wedges Laughing Cow Lite Cheese with Garlic & Herbs
2 tblsp. goat cheese
1/3 c. skim milk
2 tblsp. butter
1/2 large vidalia onion, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and drop the gnocchi. When it floats, it's cooked. I used homemade gnocchi that has been frozen, and it cooked perfectly in about five minutes.

In the meantime, combine the cheeses, milk, and butter in the pitcher/cup of a blender. I use the Bella Cucina Rocket Blender (more on that amazing product in a future post!). Microwave the items for one minute. Blend thoroughly. Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked gnocchi.

In a saucepan, heat a pat of butter and a swirl of olive oil to sizzling. Add sliced onions and toss to coat. Once onions begin to carmelize, salt them and continue cooking until soft.

Well, I have to work on my presentation, but the food was fantastic. The woody herbaceousness of the chicken was an excellent compliment to the soft, tangy cheese sauce on the gnocchi. I was glad I experimented with the herb rub - I would definitely try another one, especially to accompany a grilled meat next time.

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