Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bulgur salad with grilled chicken and parsley pesto

Preserves have been my obsession this summer and I have to admit I love having a fridge full of Mason jars filled with all sorts of things: basil pesto, parsley pesto, strawberry jam, strawberry-balsamic vinegar-black pepper sauce, etc. My mom's been preserving up a storm as well, and I can't wait to try the pickles she jarred a few weeks back.

One of the best surprises has to be the aforementioned parsley pesto, which I made specifically for a recipe from the June 2009 issue of Bon Appetit. I had quite a bit left over, and I've since used it as a sandwich spread and all-around garnish. Try it -- I found it a fresh, summery alternative to the ubiquitous basil pesto.

Bulgur salad with grilled chicken and parsley pesto

Prep: 30 min Total: 45 min
Serves 4

3 cups water
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking bulgur
1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves with tender stems
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted, cooled
1/3 cup (generous) coarsely chopped shallots
2 1/2 tbsp (or more) fresh lemon juice, divided
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
4 large chicken breast halves with skin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
8 fresh apricots, halved, pitted, or 16 drained canned apricot halves
Butter lettuce leaves (optional)

Place 3 cups water and bulgur in medium saucepan; sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until bulgur is tender but still slightly chewy, stirring occasionally, 11 to 12 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well. Transfer to large bowl.

Meanwhile, place parsley, almonds, shallots, and 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice in processer. Using on/off turns, process until parsley is coarsely chopped. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup oil and process to coarse puree. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir 3/4 cup pesto and remaining 1 tbsp lemon juice into drained bulgur. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional lemon juice, if desired.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush chicken and apricot halves with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill chicken and apricot halves until chicken is cooked through and apricots are slightly charred, 7 to 8 minutes per side for chicken and 2 minutes per side for apricots.

Line 4 plates with lettuce leaves. Divide bulgur salad among plates. Place 1 grilled chicken breast on each plate, Spoon dollop of pesto atop chicken. Divide apricot halves among plates and serve.

Courtesy Bon Appetit, June 2009

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