When you roast things – and it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about fruit, vegetables, or meat – the browning is caused by changes that bring out the sugars. Flavors intensify and sweeten.
When I saw this recipe in the August Bon Appetit I knew that I was going to make it. And I knew I was going to follow the recipe pretty much to the letter. I can’t really explain this, I have certainly tried, I can taste the flavors in the words I read. I know how basil tastes and I know how tomatoes taste and there is something in my head that creates the flavor when I put the two together in my mind. Then that little computer inside there runs a list of other flavors that coordinate – and that’s how I throw recipes together quickly.
When I read the recipe and put the flavors together my mouth started watering – profusely. I knew it was going to be delicious and it was.
Are you familiar with shallots? If you aren’t you should definitely make their acquaintance. Although many people believe shallots to be a type of onion they really aren’t. Shallots have a delicate flavor that is sort of a combination of sweet onions and a bit of garlic. The smaller they are the more delicate the flavor – as they get larger the flavor becomes more pronounced.
Buy shallots that have shiny, copper colored skins, and are firm to the touch. Store them in a cool dark place, just like any other allium.
Now, why should you use them? They add a different flavor that is very hard to put your finger on. When onions may overpower a creamy dish, shallots will only add a light nuance.
Using shallots in this dish creates a perfect balance in the flavors. Kalamata olives or Feta cheese will add a nice salty dimension to the dish. If you don’t want to add it to the actual chicken then consider a Greek salad as an accompaniment.
I served this with buttered pasta so that nothing would overpower the bright flavors of the chicken. Serve with a Chainti and a light, lemony dessert.
Roast Chicken and Tomatoes
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup olive oil , divided
- 2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 pounds skinless , boneless chicken breasts
- 2 small shallots , minced
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
- 1/3 cup tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves , chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh tarragon leaves , chopped
- Kalamata olives , pitted (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Cut tomatoes in half.
- Combine tomatoes, 2 Tbsp. oil, and Herbes de Provence in a large bowl.
- Season with the salt and pepper and stir until the tomatoes are coated.
- Put the tomatoes in a single layer in a casserole dish and put into the oven.
- Roast about 15 minutes, turning once or twice.
- Transfer to a bowl and gently stir in the Worcestershire sauce
- Season chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet until the oil shimmers.
- Sear chicken until golden on both sides, about six to eight minutes.
- Add to oven proof dish and roast at 450F for 8 - 10
- Transfer chicken to a plate and let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoon oil to same skillet; heat over medium heat.
- Add shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until it is fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Deglaze pan with vinegar, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan.
- Add tomatoes and the juice.
- Simmer until sauce is just beginning to thicken, about 1 minute.
- Add Kalamata olives if you are using them
- Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken on a serving platter.
- Spoon tomatoes and sauce over; garnish with herbs, and sprinkle with the Parmesan.