Pretty darn pleased with myself. That's kind of how I'm feeling on this Monday morning, because with just some crisp asparagus, juicy tomatoes, a little Parmesan and a whole bunch of toothpicks, I've somehow managed to make the ordinary and much maligned chicken breast seem new again! And so on this last Monday of April 2016 I humbly (well, not really) present these terrific Chicken, Asparagus and Tomato Roll-Ups for you. It's gonna be a great week!
It's pretty clear that I need to get out more 'cause this new dish has got me way more excited than I should be. It's just that in my lifelong quest to find new ways to reinvent the chicken breast, this one took me by surprise and really knocked my socks off. It's springy, light and makes you feel good. Plus there are toothpicks involved guys, lots of them, and really what could be more fun than that?!!
And it comes together easily in under an hour with only about half that, hands-on time. After a brief browning of one side of the chicken breasts, you layer the ingredients, roll up, secure with toothpicks (I may have gone a little bit overboard in that respect) and bake for about 20 minutes. It's quick and fun!
It's a great way to make use of all the asparagus that's flooding the market now!
Each bite is filled with slighty roasted asparagus, juicy tomatoes, melted Parmesan and of course, tender chicken. Yum! So if you too want to feel pretty darn good about yourself, serve this up for dinner tonight and start the week off with that I-nailed-it-in-the-kitchen kind of feeling!
Chicken, Asparagus and Tomato Roll-ups
Makes 4-6 servings
You will need toothpicks for this!
Prep Time: 30 minutes; Bake Time: 20 minutes; Total Time: About 1 hour
- About 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, cut into thin slices and halved if very large
- About 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. If you have very thin asparagus, you can just cut them in half or thirds on the diagonal. If they're the thicker kind, split them down the middle lengthwise and then cut them in half or thirds Set aside.
2. If you're using thin-sliced cutlets, you can leave them as is--if you're using thicker chicken breasts, cut them in half horizontally and pound them between two pieces of plastic wrap until they're about 3/8 inch thick and you have at least 8 pieces. Either way, season the chicken with salt and pepper.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the chicken and garlic, until the chicken is light brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Throw away the garlic.
4. Place the chicken, browned side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle all the pieces with about 1/2 of the Parmesan. Then layer each with a slice of tomato and a few pieces of asparagus. Roll up the chicken and use toothpicks to secure the ends together. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of all the chicken rolls. Bake the chicken until it's cooked through and the cheese is all gooey and melted, 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. I tinkered around with proportions and some techniques here.