Greco-Roman Baked Chicken Breasts

Oh yes, you heard me right.  I have dared to cross the line from Greek to Italian and let me tell you, being a double-agent tastes GREAT!  It’s also so much easier than I thought it would be.  (And you know I’m always honest about the work with these things.)  So come with me for the great, speedy journey – Greco-Roman Baked Chicken Breasts!

You'll cook it quickly, but make sure to eat it SLOWLY...

You'll cook it quickly, but make sure to eat it SLOWLY...

Ready?  Set?  GO!

Serves: 2

Baking dish/pan
Small sharp knife
Mallet or hammer

One large boneless skinless FREE-RANGE chicken breast
Handful calamata Greek olives, pitted
Handful grape tomatoes
Handful walnuts, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil
Parmesan cheese


So, this whole thing was so fast, I forgot to take pictures along the way.  But I don’t even think you’ll need them.

1. Preheat oven to 400º

2. Cut up the handful of olives and tomatoes with your small knife.  Cut them twice each to make long quarters. (This is the Virgo in me coming out, because really who cares how you cut these buggers, but I think it just looks so nice to have the long “shards” of tomatoes and olives, so I am advising you to cut the long quarters.  Whew.  Glad I got that off my chest.  I mean my breast.  I mean–)

3. Take out your chicken breast and pound both halves a bit with your mallet.  (Before I got the mallet, I used a hammer and a plastic top from a to-go container.  Necessity is the mother of… well, you know.)  The pounding (also called “tenderizing” – isn’t that cute?) gives you an outlet for your frustrations, and also helps the thing cook more evenly.  I think.  (Fine, I’ll look that one up soon and let you know – just do it, okay?)  Once you have pounded – er – tenderized, cut the two parts of the breast in half with your little knife.

4. Drizzle some olive oil in the pan – like a nice little squiggle – and then take about a spoonful of your pesto and smush it around in the oil, making a nice little coating underneath where the breasts will be.

5. Schmear pesto on your breasts.  (Your CHICKEN BREASTS, people.  God, you are so immature.)  Make sure you get it under all the little flaps and crevices, but don’t let this take you longer than about 30 seconds – a mere “schmearing” is all we’re after here.  Place the breasts in the pan.

6. Scatter the tomatoes and olives over and around the breasts.  Tear up a couple basil leaves with your hands and scatter them as well.  Toss a pinch of salt and pepper over the whole shebang, drizzle lightly once more with the olive oil, and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

7. After 20 minutes are up, pull the pan out and sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top, then shave some fresh Parmesan as well and place pan back in oven.  (Remember our asparagus with the shaved Parm?  Same idea here.)

8. Five more minutes and you’re DONE!  Plate up, people.  SERVE and ENJOY!

Now how EASY was that?  And you will be so amazed at the rich flavor of this dish.  It’s like a punk rock concert LIVE inside your mouth.  The olives and tomatoes cook down in the oven and make their own kind of tasty sauce over the chicken.  The pesto isn’t very strong in this dish – it’s almost like an aroma that binds all the other flavors together.  And the roasted walnuts and melted Parmesan – well, what else can I say?

A picture is worth a thousand punky words anyway, eh?

A picture is worth a thousand punky words anyway, eh?

I also wanted to give you this recipe as a reward for all that hard, tedious work on the Napoleon Dynamites the other day.  WHEW!  You earned it!


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