Basil is one of those herbs that with just one whiff, I’m transported to summer. Maybe that’s what I was thinking when I looked out my window the other dismal morning and saw this… a frozen lake with absolutely no color – only various shades of gray caused by winter hanging onto its last thread.
…but so much wanted this… a beautiful sunrise of summer.
So though it isn’t technically basil season… I had to do something to bring me to a better state of mind. Sometimes there’s nothing that basil can’t solve. As I found myself oddly identifying with the migrating mergansers searching for warmer days and food in the newly, barely open water near our shoreline…
I went on a search of my own…
…and what I found was exactly what I was looking for…in just one glorious bite…!
Chicken in Basil Cream
(Recipe from Summer on a Plate by Anna Pump and Gen LeRoy)
2 large whole chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), skin and bones removed
1/2 red onion, sliced paper thin
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 1/2 cups seedless green grapes, halved
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small head red leaf lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, and dried
Place the chicken breasts in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breasts. Drain and cool.
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the onion, celery, and grapes.
For the basil cream; combine the garlic, basil, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Add the mayonnaise, salt, pepper and sugar, and pulse a few times to blend. Pour over the chicken adn mix well, to coat all.
Distribute the lettuce among four serving plates. Top each with a scoop of the chicken in basil cream and serve.
Yields 4 servings