Recipe: Vegetable Basket with Maple-Balsamic Grilled Chicken
The vegetables can be grilled, roasted and blanched several hours before your guests arrive. The technique selected depends on the vegetable. The vegetables I purchased are a suggestion and could be varied according to what is seasonal. I imagine grilled or roasted butternut and acorn squash, and roasted garlic cloves and Brussels sprouts, for instance, would be a fine addition to the platter. Or you could serve a platter of just one vegetable that caught your eye — that would simplify operations.
Yield: 12 main course servings
Time to marinate chicken: 3-5 hours
Active Time: 3 hours (see above copy for advice on advance preparation)
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup walnut or olive oil, plus extra oil for roasting vegetables
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup maple syrup*
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot
- 3 pounds skinless and boneless chicken breast halves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 bunch beets, washed; greens removed and saved for another use
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 2 large turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 1 bunch parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch diagonal slices
- 1 large eggplant, half of the black skin removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into 3/4-inch rounds
- 1 bunch small carrots, bushy greens removed then peeled
- 12 small zucchini and/or yellow squash, washed and left whole
- 3 cups baby pattypan squash, stem ends trimmed
- 6 cups green and yellow beans, stem ends trimmed and washed
- 4 cups mixed baby greens, washed and spun dry
- Kale leaves, washed and spun dry; optional
- 1 cup crumbled gorgonzola or other blue cheese
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
*Maple syrups vary in flavor and level of sweetness. I used a Michigan maple syrup (purchased at Sparrow Produce in Kerrytown), which has a rich sweet flavor and smooth mouth-feel.
1. Make a vinaigrette by whisking together the vinegar, walnut oil, syrup and shallot. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
2. Place chicken breast halves in a resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Pour 1/2 cup of the marinade over the chicken, reserving the rest. Seal bag and turn to coat chicken. Let marinate, refrigerated, 3-5 hours, turning bag occasionally.
3. To roast vegetables, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets, drizzled in olive oil, in aluminum foil. Roast on center rack of oven 45-75 minutes, or until easily pricked with a fork. When cool enough to handle, peel off skin and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Reserve.
4. Line two cooking sheet pans with oiled foil. On each pan arrange sweet potatoes, turnips and parnips in a single layer, not mixing the vegetables as they have different roasting times. Brush with oil and lightly season with kosher salt. Roast on middle rack of oven until vegetables are lightly browned in spots and just tender, turning once. Note that some vegetables may cook faster than others. Reserve.
5. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Lightly brush eggplant flesh, carrots and baby zucchini with maple dressing and grill several minutes on each side or until vegetables are just tender but not charred; baste occasionally. Remove and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt; reserve.
6. Drain chicken and pat dry. Lightly season both sides with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and rosemary. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (155?), turning once.
7. Bring two pots of salted water to a boil*. Fill a large, wide bowl with ice water. To blanch vegetables until crisp-tender, boil pattypans 30 to 90 seconds, depending on their size. Boil green beans 30-60 seconds. (You may want to cook a few vegetables in advance to approximate cooking time.) Drain the vegetables, then plunge them into ice water. When cold, remove and pat dry.
8. When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut diagonally into thin slices. Toss greens with reserved maple dressing to taste; arrange greens on a large platter. Arrange chicken on top of greens. Arrange vegetables in a large basket or platter, lined with kale if using. Sprinkle platters with gorgonzola and walnuts and serve with remaining balsamic-maple dressing on the side.
*If green beans and squash are small enough and freshly harvested, you may prefer to eat them uncooked.
This recipe was written by Peggy Lampman and originally posted on AnnArbor.com on Sept. 29, 2011.