Note: this was originally posted on Macon.com on July 23:
Welcome back to our humble kitchen! This go round we wanted to share a way to utilize a few other seasonal ingredients in ways that are both slightly unconventional and also very easy.
Two of my favorite foods in the world are cantaloupe and Vidalia onions, but sadly they are often relegated to the realm of garnish or sides, not really the powerhouses of a dish. It really is a shame, because few things are better than the flavor these fresh ingredients.
Cantaloupe Jalepeno Chicken Roulade
4 chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded thin
Salt and pepper to cover
1 ½ brick Greek yogurt cream cheese
½ cantaloupe, cut into small pieces
1 whole Jalapeno, seeded and chopped
8 large sage leaves, chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
First, let’s start with the protein side of this equation- a nice chicken roulade with a light, flavorful cream filling. Roulades sound and look much fancier and complicated than they really are, making this method a great way to add flair and flavor to a dish without too much effort, especially if you use an outdoor grill as I did with this recipe.
To start the roulade, take the chicken breasts and trim any fat. Butterfly each breast by cutting it in half from the side, but not cutting it all the way through—essentially doubling the surface area. Season with salt and pepper and then pound with a meat tenderizer until each one is about ¼ inch thick. Go ahead and light your grill and heat to about 400.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip together the cream cheese, jalapeno, cantaloupe and sage for about three minutes until well combined and has a light consistency.
Cover each chicken breast with the mixture, spreading even with a spatula. Roll tightly on the vertical axis and tie with kitchen twine. Squeeze lemon over each one.
With the grill ready, place the roulades over direct heat about 4 minutes per side. Reduce heat to 325 and cook an additional twenty minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches about 165. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into pinwheels about an inch thick. Serve atop the risotto.
Vidalia Onion Risotto
2 cups Arborio
4 cups chicken broth
1 large Vidalia onion, frenched
Salt to taste
1 stick butter
½ cup white wine
5 cloves garlic
6 leaves basil
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup fontina cheese
In a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, melt ½ stick of butter until almost browned. Add the onions and cook until they are brown and soft in texture, about 25-30 minutes on medium low heat. Remove from the pot into a bowl. Heat the chicken broth over low heat in a separate pot.
In the onion pot, melt the next ½ stick of butter and stir in the Arborio. Toast the rice for about four minutes and then add the white wine. Stir until it is absorbed, and then add 1 cup of the broth. Stir and allow the rice to mostly absorb the broth until adding the next cup. Continue until all broth is used or the rice is tender. As the last dose of broth is being absorbed, add the onions, garlic, basil, cheese and lemon juice and stir until well combined.
1 bunch kale, finely chopped
1 small cucumber, diced
1/2 cup dates, chopped
½ cup walnuts, chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the kale, dates, walnuts and cucumber in a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Toss the dry ingredients in the dressing.
All together this is a nice, bright summer dish that really makes a statement on a plate. The combination of ingredients creates a nice balance and it is an excellent way to re-imagine these “sides” into something bold.