By Lisa Golden Schroeder
I’m getting excited about red maple trees. The air has taken on a new, subtle coolness, despite the sunshine during the day. And as I drive around my neighborhood, the apple orchard fans (I live on a street with an apple farm at the end of the road) are slowly winding their way in to buy bushel baskets of crisp freshly picked apples, jugs of cider and bags of apple doughnuts. The leaves in my yard are definitely showing signs of changing color, while the cherry tomato plant next to my front door is dropping the last of the hundreds of tiny tomatoes that it’s produced this year. The farmers market is revved up with lots of later harvest jewels—sweet bell peppers, bunches of beets, strands of garlic, a wealth of eggplants (ever see the small white eggplants that really look like eggs?), and a smattering of final heirloom tomatoes.
We’re still grilling on the weekends—and this time of year we’re actually more successful in getting friends over for an evening hanging out on the back deck. Summer is just so busy, but the fall seems to open up weekends a little. I’ve mentioned that one of my favorite ways to make chicken is the all-in-the-oven roasting method—with chicken and vegetables cooking away together while I’m doing something else. But before I have to cook everything indoors, I like to make big platters of grilled chicken. I team it up with oven-roasted vegetables—which really have a nice texture if you line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Of course, if you have enough grill space you can grill the veggies too—but this dual system allows you to make a lot of food all at once, with the great smoky flavor of the grilled chicken. And this time of year it’s not too hot to turn on your oven. Since I’m tagging this as an antipasto-style dish, you could add cubes of hard salami or thinly sliced cured ham to the platter. Set out some warm, crusty ciabatta rolls and let everyone make little sandwiches for themselves.
The footprint for this recipe is super flexible—basically it’s grilled chicken with your favorite late harvest veggies. Whatever looks gorgeous at the farmers market or in the end-cap at your grocery store that’s featuring local produce. I’m grilling boneless chicken breasts here, but feel free to substitute chicken drumsticks, boneless thighs, or cut up a whole bird so that you have both white and dark meat. The bone-in or dark meat chicken will take a little longer to cook, but the veggies will wait. This is easy to cut in half for fewer diners.
HARVEST CHICKEN ANTIPASTO PLATTER
Makes 8 servings
CHICKEN & VEGETABLES
2 packages (14 ounces) Just BARE® Hand-Trimmed Boneless, Skinless Chicken Fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium red bell peppers, quartered, stems and seeds removed
2 medium red onions, cut into wedges
4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 large beets, peeled, cut into wedges
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
2 bunches carrots with tops, tops removed, sliced lengthwise into quarters
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 ounces Provolone cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
16 unpitted Kalamata or green Spanish olives
Lemon wedges, if desired
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly brush chicken with 1 tablespoon oil. Grill 8 to 10 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from grill, cut in half crosswise.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 425˚F, adjusting the oven racks so that you can get two rimmed baking sheets inside. Arrange vegetables on two parchment-lined baking sheets (don’t over-crowd them). Drizzle vegetables with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast vegetables, stirring a few times, for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.
- Arrange grilled chicken, roasted vegetables, cheese and olives on a large platter. Whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together and spoon over chicken and vegetables. Garnish platter with lemon wedges.