I love when meals come together organically—when what you already have in the fridge coincides with a great deal at the grocery, or when the perfect ingredient is already hiding in your cupboard. For me, this was one of those meals.
Because it was a sort of hodgepodge of ingredients I needed to use up and new things I had just purchased, I didn’t know whether everything I was serving would taste right together. Fresh summer corn with garlic butter, taboule with cherry tomatoes and herbs, and chicken stuffed with sharp cheddar cheese. These are all great dishes on their own, but I was worried that some of the intense flavors would overpower each other. It was quite the opposite; when the three came together, it was kismet. The corn complimented the juicy chicken, the fresh, light taboule balanced out the richness of the butter and the cheese, and a happy, happy family savored every bite of dinner.
The recipes below are meant to serve 4, but chicken breast halves are generally so huge that they can be shared. The taboule only gets better as it sits in the fridge, so if you can make it ahead of time, you’ll reap the benefits. Corn is never sweeter than right now, and as it cooks in the butter, the garlic crisps and sticks to the kernels, reminiscent of corn served at the county fair.
This meal is isn’t fancy or complicated, but it’s pretty enough to serve to company. My company of two can’t get enough of it.
- 4 chicken breast halves with skin and bones
- 3/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar or extra sharp cheddar cheese (I like Tillamook Vintage White for both its color and flavor)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Rinse and pat chicken dry, then cut a deep 3-inch-long pocket horizontally in long curved side of each chicken breast half. Fill each pocket with one quarter of cheese. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a heavy oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Place chicken, skin side down, in skillet and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn breasts over, then place skillet in oven and bake until just cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter and serve.
Garlic Butter Corn
Overcooked corn is one of my biggest pet peeves. You’ll get the best flavor out of the corn if you remove from heat before the kernels begin to look mushy and “pucker.”
- 4 cobs of corn, shucked
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or microplaned
Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the corn and cook for about 5 minutes, turning frequently, until all of the kernels turn bright yellow. Serve immediately.
Tabouleh with Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs
- 1 box taboule mix (I use this brand)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (sometimes box mixes will call for lemon juice—omit their recommended amount and use this)
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
- 10-15 cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
Prepare taboule according to package directions. Stir in the lemon juice, parsley, basil and tomatoes. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.