I love the emails I receive every Monday morning from Saveur with Simple Weeknight Meal suggestions. This weeks Pesto-Rubbed Chicken grabbed my attention as I had both pesto and a chicken on hand. It’s still too hot to cook inside so knowing I could make this dish on the grill was a huge bonus. I did not make the Panzella salad suggested with the recipe, but I did throw together a quick Caprese salad with fresh garden tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. I grilled yellow summer squash and zucchini to serve alongside. It was a quick and flavorful meal. I will be turning the leftover chicken into amazing pesto chicken salad sandwiches. Stay tuned!
for the Pesto-Rubbed Grilled Chicken
1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds – I chose to spatchcock it as it is so easy to grill that way!
4-6 ounces pesto, any flavor you like. My recipe is here.
My pesto is traditional Pesto Genovese. This preparation would be amazing with roasted red pepper pesto!
salt and pepper
Loosen the skin on the chicken. Add the pesto under the skin and spread evenly with your hand. Work your way around the chicken until all the meat under the skin is covered with pesto. Rub the both sides of the chicken with about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Season generously with freshly ground salt and pepper. Rub the remaining pesto on the outside of the chicken. Heat the grill to 450′. Place the chicken on the grill skin side down. Cook for about 20 minutes. Turn and cook another 20 minutes. Insert a thermometer to test for doneness. It should be at least 165″ in thickest part. Let chicken rest 10 minutes and then cut into serving pieces.
for the Caprese Salad
fresh garden heirloom tomatoes, sliced into serving sizes
fresh mozzarella, sliced into serving slices
fresh garden basil, torn
fresh cracked pepper and coarsely ground salt
very good quality fruity olive oil. My favorite is California Olive Ranch Arbequina
lettuce “cups” for serving
Layer the tomatoes, cheese and basil in the lettuce cups. Drizzle with olive oil. season with the salt and pepper. I also make this with fresh burratta frequently throughout the summer.
for the Grilled Summer Squash and Zucchini
Slice the squash into thick slices. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Grill on each side about 5 minutes, being careful not to over cook. Remove from grill, let rest. Slice for serving. Drizzle the squash with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar or glaze. Season with salt and pepper.
We had an amazing visitor while we were grilling this meal. A beautiful Peregrine Falcon decided to hang out for awhile in a cedar tree in our yard. He was absolutely stunning!