By Heidi Sutton
I was telling my friend John the other day how my garden has gone rogue and is now spilling over the raised beds onto the lawn. Tomatoes, peppers, string beans and basil — all out of control and growing like weeds. I guess that could be a good thing too. Now there’s plenty to share with neighbors. Here are two delicious recipes to try if you have a bumper crop of tomatoes and basil.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Pesto
YIELD: Makes 4 servings
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound thin-cut chicken cutlets
1/4 cup basil pesto, divided
1 large tomato
8 slices crusty sourdough bread
4 ounces Brie, thinly sliced
1 cup packed baby arugula
Heat grill to high. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; pour into plastic zipper bag. Add chicken, seal and marinate at least 30 minutes. Grill chicken 2-3 minutes, turn and grill another 2-3 minutes, or until chicken registers internal temperature of 160 F. Remove and reserve.
Spread each piece of bread with 1/2 tablespoon pesto. Slice tomato into eight slices. Place chicken on four bread slices. Top with Brie slices, arugula and two tomato slices. Top with remaining bread slices, pesto side toward tomato. Brush outside of each sandwich with about 1/2 tablespoon of remaining olive oil.
Place on grill, reduce heat to medium and grill 2-3 minutes per side, or until bread is nicely toasted and cheese is melted. Remove from heat, cut each sandwich in half and serve.
Pasta Salad with Tomatoes
YIELD: Makes 8 servings
8 ounces regular or whole-wheat rotini or rotelle pasta, cooked according to directions
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
10 to 15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 slice whole-wheat or multigrain bread
In bowl, cover and chill pasta. In large mixing bowl, combine vinegar, 2 tablespoons basil, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons oil and half of minced garlic. Whisk to combine well. Add pasta, bell pepper and tomatoes, and toss gently until well coated.
In food processor or blender, pulse bread to produce coarse crumbs. In medium skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Stir in breadcrumbs and garlic. Saute 1 1/2-2 minutes until browned and crisp. Remove from heat and let cool.
Top pasta with garlic crumbs and remaining basil before serving.