Mediterranean Shuffle

This week was Mr. Tyler Florence.  You’d know that if you clicked the FNCCC button at top!  It tells you who we are doing each week for when I slack and don’t post a reminder.

I try to cook things I like or think I’ll like.  Things that have mostly ingredients that I want to eat and go nom nom nom on.  Tyler has a recipe for mediterranean pasta that’s so simple your friend Wil here can make it!

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced diagonally
1 (8 1/2-ounc) jar sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (1 cup)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 pound fresh angel hair pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 (8 1/2-ounce) can artichoke hearts in water, quartered and drained (1 cup)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted (1/4 pound)
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste

Boil water for pasta in a pasta pot, fitted with a strainer. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken strips until no longer pink — about 3 minutes each side. Add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic to skillet. Saute for 2 minutes. In the meantime, add the fresh pasta to boiling water, cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.

Now add the basil, artichoke hearts, olives and feta cheese to the skillet. Saute 1 minute then stir in the cream. Strain the pasta and transfer to a large pasta bowl. Add the chicken saute to the pasta and toss. Season with oregano, salt and pepper before serving.

I mentioned I like to make things I think I’ll like but this recipe is composed mostly of things I don’t enjoy or have never eaten.  Green olives for example are only good if soaked in vodka a la the bottom of a vodka martini.

Black olives are nasty.  They look gross, have a horrible texture and there is nothing redeeming about them.  I’m starting a revolution now to get rid of them.  Viva la, uhm, anti black olive!

Anyway, kalamata olives have a mix of black and green olive flavor.  Right out of the jar they didn’t taste too bad to me but I wasn’t so sure about eating them.  I washed them off to try and get rid of as much brine as I could and found out the brine was the flavor I liked.

It also has artichoke hearts in it, I’m not sure what those are and I’ve never had them before.  I don’t even know how to explain their taste.  They don’t really have one.  They have a unique texture though that can only be described as leafy and chewy.  I think they take on the flavor of whatever they were in.

Kudos to me though for trying stuff that if I saw on a menu I’d instantly write off.

Which is exactly why I should have said hell to the no to making this dish.

Betsy loved it though and so did one of my employees who is often forced to sample my cooking.  Scott didn’t really enjoy it either but our tastes in food are about the same.

The recipe did come together quick and easy though.  I’m going to make it again as well, just highly modified.  I’ll drop the olives and artichoke hearts and keep everything else!  The smell from the chicken and the sun-dried ‘maters was flying monkeys good.

The ‘maters came suspended in an oil that had some herbs in it and I think next time I’ll drain that off and use it to cook the chicken in.  Add in the maters when the chicken is done and the feta and cream.  Sounds amazing.

My pictures won’t email off my phone at the moment so I’ll try to get those added later but the final dish wasn’t all that pretty anyway.

Try this dish at your own risk but remember, don’t be afraid to try new things.  You’ll never know what you might like!

I did find Feta Cheese after all!


One thought on “Mediterranean Shuffle

  1. This was seriously some of the best pasta I’ve had. The flavor was worthy of any restaurant. Then again, I love kalamata olives and artichoke hearts, so that might have something to do with it!

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