Bruschetta Break

It’s the end of another long workweek and I’m enjoying a 4-day weekend. Yesterday, I spent the day sleeping in, roaming around Target, doing my weekly grocery run, stopping off at Calloway’s, and grilling! It was so nice and hot outside, I couldn’t resist that stop at Calloway’s Nursery to walk around and soak up all the greenery. There’s just something so peaceful about wandering up and down the aisles looking at all the beautiful life exploding on every rack.

The wind casually billowing through the open-air store not only relaxes the senses, it eases the mind… for the most part. The constant signage at every turn regarding “social distancing” swiftly brought me back to reality. I am so ready for all of this to be so over. I long for the days when I can buy some plants without having to stand awkwardly on the far side at the very end of a register just to buy some plants in the open air. Cue We’ll Meet Again and a wistful look in the eye….

Regardless, it was a pretty relaxing day. The weather was so warm that I didn’t want anything too heavy, so I tried out Joanna Gaines’ recipe for Grilled Bruschetta Chicken from her newest volume of Magnolia Table cookbook! It was light and flavorful and used so many fresh ingredients, that I couldn’t resist it for a weeknight meal. As much as possible, I used all fresh ingredients (I even used home-dried herbs where I could). However, if you prefer to use all fresh and nothing dried, I’ve added the equivalents below!

She’s labeled this Grilled Bruschetta Chicken however, unlike any bruschetta I’ve ever had, there’s a serious Greek influence to the dish. Bruschetta is traditionally an Italian starter dish comprised of crusty bread topped with chopped, olive-oil-marinated tomatoes and adorned with balsamic and sometimes mozzarella. This recipe has the chopped tomatoes and olive oil, but that’s about as close as it comes to typical bruschetta. But I’m not necessarily saying it was a bad move… Even if Gaines’ version didn’t include the delicious balsamic (which I drizzled on anyway).

Ingredients:
6 Roma tomatoes (or San Marzano if you can find them!), diced
1/2c crumbled feta (Sheep’s milk is traditional here)
1/4c shredded fresh basil
1tsp Greek seasoning (I used Cavender’s. JoJo has a blend of her own at the beginning of the book that you can use, but I’ll include my fresh version below)
3tbsp EVOO
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves minced fresh garlic)
1/2tsp dried oregano (or 1/2tbsp fresh, finely chopped)
1/4tsp kosher salt
1/4tsp fresh cracked black pepper
Balsamic Reduction, I like Alessi, but you can make your own.

Directions:
1) Heat a grill to med-high (~350°).
2) In a lg bowl, toss together tomatoes, feta, basil, Greek seasoning, and half of the EVOO. Set aside.
3) Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with salt & pepper and set aside.
4) In a sm bowl, combine the garlic, oregano, S&P.
5) Drizzle the remaining half of the EVOO over top and sprinkle with the garlic mixture. Massage the chicken with the garlic mix.
6) Grill the chicken 4-5min on each side until done (or until a meat thermometer reads 160°).
7) Place one chicken breast on each plate and top with the tomato mixture and gently drizzle each dish with balsamic glaze. (Serve with a side salad or fresh grilled veggies like we did!) Enjoy immediately.

For the side of grilled veggies, using a sharp knife, I cut the corn kernels off two ears of fresh corn and tossed with 1lb of snapped green beans. I added them to my Lodge cast iron and drilled them with EVOO and seasoned the mix with Old Bay. I rested the pan on the grill while it was heating up and left it, stirring occasionally, while the chicken was grilling. After I pulled the chicken, I turned off the grill and brought the pan inside and dropped in a couple tbsp of butter. This left the veggies vibrant and a little crunchy, but flavorful and fully cooked. Such a great side dish for a great late spring meal!

For fresh Greek seasoning, combine:
2tbsp chopped oregano (Greek oregano can be found here)
1tbsp + 1tsp chopped thyme
1tbsp chopped marjoram
1tbsp finely chopped red onion
1tsp chopped basil
1 cloves minced garlic
1/2tbsp lemon zest
1tsp kosher salt
(Makes about 1/2c. Since dried has more concentrated flavors than fresh, you can use fresh more liberally without ruining your recipe)

What is your favorite/go-to seasoning blend?

Reading: The Flipside of Feminism by Suzanne Venker

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