Cooking With Michael
On this introductory post for Cooking with Michael, I will be sharing my cooking style and our first dish, Zucchini, Roasted Bell Pepper + Garlic Sauté paired with my Simple Pan Seared Chicken Breast. The first thing to know about my cooking style is that I like to wing it. I rarely measure, I make up dishes on the fly as I wander the grocery store picking out ingredients, and I make changes to almost every recipe I find. This recipe is my variation of Jamie Geller’s Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper Sauté which can be found here.
For the Sauté recipe you will need:
3-4 medium sized zucchinis, ends cut off
2-3 fresh bell peppers, preferably one red, one yellow, and one orange
6 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon Salt
For the Chicken you will need:
2 chicken breasts, butterflied
4 cloves of garlic
Your choice of seasonings for a rub
To start, preheat your oven to 400 F. Next, to season your chicken breast. First dry the chicken with a paper towel and press out some of the juices. This will help the rub seasoning to stick. For the rub, I used a mix of salt, pepper, dill, cloves, and a dash of brown sugar which creates a delicious crust as the chicken sears. Now, set aside and allow the rub to work it’s magic. I like to add a seasoning like this to chicken as soon as I get it so that the salt can penetrate into the chicken and the brown sugar can work it’s magic. If you do season your chicken ahead of time, be sure to pat it dry before cooking.
Now, we will start on our bell peppers and garlic. Start by slicing your bell peppers into ribbons, not more than 1/4 of an inch thick. Now using a large cast iron or baking dish, add in your peppers and 4-6 whole, crushed cloves of garlic and cover with oil. I used grape seed oil for its high smoke point and neutral flavor. Roast the peppers in the oven stirring occasionally for approximately 30 minutes, or until the garlic is a golden brown.
While the peppers are roasting, use a knife or wide peeler to (I used a knife because my peeler is an old piece of crap and is too small) to cut the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons. It is recommended to start on one side with your peeler or knife and then place that flat edge on your cutting board to give yourself an easy surface to work on. By now your bell peppers and garlic should be ready, so use a couple tablespoons of the oil that have been collecting flavor from the peppers and garlic to a large pan and heat over medium heat on the stove.
Searing Good Time
Next, preheat a pan (preferably a cast iron) over medium-high heat with 2-3 tablespoons of oil (depending on the size of the pan) for your chicken and crank your oven up to 500 F. Once the oil is near smoke point, carefully add your chicken breasts as well as four crushed cloves of garlic. If you can’t fit all the pieces of chicken in your pan, do it in batches. Sear on one side for approximately two minutes, or until the chicken is golden. Then flip, tilt your pan and use a spoon to baste your chicken in that garlicy oil for 1-2 minutes. Then add your chicken to the oven to cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165 F.
Almost Eating Time
While the chicken is cooking, add your zucchini in batches to the hot preheated pan and sauté until the zucchini begins to sweat. Then, drain off the water and place aside, wiping down your pan with a towel and adding another couple of tablespoons of oil from your peppers to the pan for the next batch. Once you have drained off the zucchini, mince the roasted garlic from your cast iron and place in a bowl with the red peppers and zucchini. If the peppers or zucchini have gotten cold, you can toss them in a warm pan for a couple of minutes but this will make your zucchini sweat more. Now, toss with salt and paprika and serve with your finished chicken.