Eggplant, Chicken and Pesto, Oh My!

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That shot just about summarizes all of the fun cooking I did this weekend! I fried eggplant spears, made a fresh pesto sauce for angel hair pasta, and roasted a whole, pastured chicken.

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Before getting to the breading, I twice purged the eggplant with salt and blotted it with paper towel. This helped to get rid of a lot of the eggplant’s water content.

For the breading, I used the flour-egg-panko technique. I dried off each spear again before very gingerly coating with each ingredient and using tongs to move through the coating process. At each step, the spear had to be evenly and completely covered before moving on. And with the panko, I actually gently pressed in crumbs several times to make sure they were fully coated.

I pan fried 3-5 spears at a time in about an inch of a blend of olive and vegetable oil. The amount of oil made it very easy to twirl the spears without much fiddling around. My handy fish spatula made it super easy to very carefully remove each spear from the oil.

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The chicken is pasture raised from a local farm. After stuffing my freezer full of newly made stock from a few weekends ago, I needed to cook something to make some room! So I decided to defrost this chicken and roast it.

To add flavor, I stuffed the bird with lemon slices and sauteed leeks, celery and carrots, and tussed it. I rubbed the bird with olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper.

At first I blasted the chicken on 450° with the thermometer in the breast to an internal temp of 120°, then turned off the oven and let the bird coast to 160°.

I end up with a pretty and tasty result. This was probably the prettiest bird I’ve ever prepared. I’m very proud of being able to feel comfortable roasting a  chicken. About 1-2 years ago I had no idea how to…AND was afraid of mucking up another bird! This technique was inspired by an America’s Test Kitchen recipe.

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That’s a picture of the pesto sauce mostly eaten. It’s made from fresh basil leaves, baby spinach, extra virgin olive and regular olive oil blend, garlic cloves, much fresh Parmesan, pignolias, and fresh lemon juice. Very tasty!

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