Thursday, July 1, 2010

Too Hot to Cook? Summer in Provence

Summer has finally arrived and baby, is it ever hot outside! 31°C in the shade today (88°F) and the Cigales (cicadas) are singing their hearts out! And instead of working on my tan I have guests coming and need to cook something nice, light and heat compatible.
So here is my summer menu for tonight:
Starter - Gazpacho
Hardly any work, delicious and healthy and cold!


Main course - Chicken with semi dried Tomatoes, Basil and Pine Nuts
You need 4 chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces (about 3 cups)
1 cup semi dried tomatoes
½ cup toasted pine nuts
a handful of fresh basil leaves
balsamic vinegar, olive oil, butter
pepper and kosher salt

Fry the chicken pieces over very gentle heat in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Stir every so often – the chicken pieces are not supposed to turn brown and crisp but stay nicely pale, tender and juicy.
Once the chicken is done, lift out of the pan and into a big bowl. Cut the semi dried tomatoes into strips and mix with the chicken pieces. Season with pepper fresh from the mill, kosher salt, a generous slug of balsamic vinegar and some good olive oil.
Roast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan (don't add fat!) stir-frying them all the time. Careful – they burn very easily, so don't leave the stove! Once roasted, sprinkle the nuts over the chicken.
Roll the basil leaves into a fat cigar which you then cut into very fine strips which you sprinkle over the dish.
Can be eaten warm or lukewarm - but not straight out of the fridge, cold kills taste.
I'll serve this tonight with baguette - and a glass (or two) of very cold Provence rosé wine.

Chicken with semi dried Tomatoes, Basil and Pine Nuts

And for Dessert? Cherry Clafoutis
Cherries won't be around much longer and right now they are lovely, juicy, sweet and delicious, so I cook as much of this easy to do French classic as I can. (Photo and recipe to follow)
I guess I'll have time to work on my tan after all....


  1. Wish I'd been invited everything looks so yummy!

  2. This is just the perfect meal for that hot weather you are experiencing and a meal eveyone will enjoy! Good choice of dessert-one of my favorites!

  3. This does look very easy and I know all about pine nuts roasting quickly. You turn your head for a second and they are black!