Sunday, February 22, 2015

It didn't really go with the soup

When I made the curried cauliflower soup several weeks ago, I wanted something fresh and herbal to go alongside it. I thought, "cilantro," which often comes as a garnish on curries. I also figured chicken, to keep things light.

I came across this recipe on Epicurious and was sufficiently intrigued. I love pesto in many shapes and forms. Basil, sun-dried tomato, olive, and a cilantro one seemed like just the ticket. I did however, make one major change, and then when eating the leftovers, one minor one. I'll be interested in what y'all think.

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted macadamia nuts 
  • 1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 7 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves with skin (I went with boneless thighs here. They're cheaper, have more flavor and I really don't like poultry skin)
The big change I made was not switching out the breasts for thighs, but I substituted cashews for the macadamia nuts. I already had to buy the cashews and I thought this would tie the two dishes together.
Combine first 5 ingredients in processor (If you don't have a processor, you can use a blender, but be prepared to dig a lot of the pesto out from under the blades). Blend until nuts are finely chopped. Add 6 tablespoons oil and process until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saut√© until brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. 
Transfer chicken breasts to plates. Top each with some pesto and serve.
As you can see from the title of the post, they didn't go well with the curried cauliflower soup. On their own, they're delicious, but the pesto was a bit thick and it really needed a little bit of acid somewhere. Nexx suggested lime juice, which I squeezed over the leftover. That made a lot of difference and is definitely on the list of things to use when I make it again. Possibly a touch of black pepper as well, but only a touch. I'm excited to make this for friends because it's so different. It's also suitable for the friends I have on low-carb diets, though some Old Bay potato salad with crispy onions might work for those of us who do eat carbs.

If you make it, with cashews or macadamias, let me know!

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