By Katie Cox
These seasonal flavors are ones that truly ignite all of the senses of summer, leaving the rest of the seasons to always be a little bit in the shadows. Using these flavors to freshen up any barbecue or picnic is easy and your guests will have no doubt that they’re dining on the harvests of summer. You’ll appear to be a master chef and be facing compliments all evening on your culinary creativity. For a big barbecue, I recommend serving the chicken with an Italian style pasta salad with a vinegar dressing and serving the strawberries as their own side dish. For a more intimate gathering, grill some veggies and whip up this salad to get things started on an unexpected foot.
This is the recipe for the pesto, which makes about 1 cup. A handy tip: Buy large bunches of herbs at farmer’s markets and whip up a huge batch of pesto on the weekend. Refrigerate it for up to a week or freeze it in smaller batches (Ziploc bags and ice cube trays are two easy ways) to be used all year long.
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint
3/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesean cheese
7 cloves of fresh garlic, grated or minced
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Boneless skinless chicken breast
For the strawberry salad:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 lb fresh strawberries
Handful of chopped nuts (walnuts or almonds work best)
1 oz goat cheese
1. In a small bowl combine whole, trimmed strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Combine the basil, mint, cheese, garlic and lemon in a food processor. Pulse 4-5 times until the herbs get broken up, then turn on and stream in about 1/2 cup of olive oil until smooth.
3. Preheat your grill to medium high (about 400 degrees). Season your chicken breast with salt and pepper and place on the grill. After 7 minutes, flip the chicken and baste generously with the summer pesto. Cook for an additional 7 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Turn grill heat down to medium low. Skewer the strawberries and grill for about 2 minutes per side. Remove them from the grill before they get mushy.
5. Serve whole sprinkled with goat cheese or slice in half and serve over mixed greens, nuts and goat cheese. Dress with the remaining vinegar and 3 tbsp of olive oil.
*If you have a multi-burner grill you can grill the chicken and berries all at once