A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Grilled Chicken with Fresh Tomato Basil Salsa

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Grilled Chicken with Fresh Tomato Basil Salsa

One of my favorite things about summer cooking is that you can get maximum flavor from a minimal number of ingredients. In the winter months, I'm often slow cooking, seasoning, roasting our meals because the in-season veggies are a bit bland and the rest are out of season so you're not really getting them at their peak flavor. In the summertime there's nothing better than picking up fresh ingredients at the farmer's market and preparing them with just a few simple ingredients that really let their flavors shine. That's what this recipe is all about.

Lightly seasoned grilled chicken breasts are paired with a fresh and delicious Italian-style tomato "salsa" for a perfectly simple summer dinner. Tomatoes are one of my favorite summer farmers market finds, so I'm always looking for new ways to showcase their flavor-- and I find that serving them raw and uncooked is the best way to capitalize on their bold sweet flavors (like this heirloom tomato salad last summer). For fresh tomatoes, I love to pair them with fresh basil, a little sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar, and a really good olive oil. That's all you need for fresh summer flavor-- and it doesn't even need to be cooked!

It's not many ingredients, but good quality ones can make a big impact on the flavor of your food. And a high quality olive oil is key-- especially when you're using it to finish a dish and not to cook with. For this tomato salsa, I used a delicious extra virgin olive oil from Holman Ranch Vineyards & Winery in Carmel Valley, California. This olive oil has a buttery flavor with subtle notes of spice and  a richness that is perfect for dressing these tomatoes. This olive oil is made from a combination of Tuscan and French olives grown right on the Holman Ranch estate and then cold-pressed to create an intensely favored olive oil. I love that even when combined with the tartness of balsamic vinegar, this olive oil has a rich enough flavor to complement and not take a backseat to the vinegar. I've been using this oil a lot lately-- it's perfect for dressing summer salads, for drizzling on simple summer pastas, and for dipping some really good ciabatta bread too!


  • 2 Tbs. Holman Ranch extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. dry Italian seasoning
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice *I used fresh yellow tomatoes I picked up at my farmer's market
  • 2 Tbs. red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar 
  • 6-8 basil leaves, thinly sliced
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Using 1/2 Tbs. of olive oil, brush both sides of each chicken breast. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning on both sides.
Grill the chicken 5-6 minutes on each side or until cooked through and the juices run clear. Remove from grill and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine diced tomatoes, red onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fold in the sliced basil leaves.

Serve over the plated grilled chicken.

Editor's Note: I was provided with a complimentary sample of Holman Ranch olive oil to facilitate this post. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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