Bulgur Salad with Grilled Chicken and Parsley Pesto
June can be a challenging time of year for me, cooking-wise. There are enough “signs of summer” to get me in the mood for the dishes I crave over those long winter months. Warmer temps. Longer days. And the resurgence of my beloved local farmers markets.
And yet we’re really not quite there yet. Is there basil? Sure – but the plants are tiny, just enough for a bit of garnish. Peaches and plums? Yes, you can get them – but they’re not the large, sweet, juicy fruits that beg to be eaten over the sink – the moment you get them home.
And we’re still a long way from those ugly-gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn that I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So what to do?
There’s no way I’m going back to stews, roasts and casseroles – but with a little tweaking I can have a “summer-ish” meal that takes advantage of what’s available right now.
Like this dish:
While I can’t wait for my bounty of basil to turn into batches (and batches) of pesto, this parsley version is truly delicious. And apricots are perfect – and fleeting – so I’m using them with abandon, both sweet and savory. If you’ve never grilled fruit before, this will be a game changer, trust me.
Best of all? This is the kind of easy, comes-together-quickly meal that embodies the most important qualities of summer cooking.
Hang in – we’re almost there!
- 3 c. water
- 1 1/2 c. quick-cooking bulgur
- 1 1/2 c. (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves with tender stems
- 3/4 c. slivered almonds, toasted, cooled
- 1/3 c. (generous) coarsely chopped shallots
- 2 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice, divided
- 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 8 fresh apricots, halved, pitted
- Place 3 c. water and bulgur in medium saucepan; sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until bulgur is tender but still slightly chewy, stirring occasionally, 11 to 12 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well. Transfer to large bowl.
- Place parsley, almonds, shallots, and 1 1/2 T. lemon juice in processor. Using on/off turns, process until parsley is coarsely chopped. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 c. oil and process to coarse puree. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stir 3/4 c. pesto and remaining 1 T. lemon juice into drained bulgur. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional lemon juice, if desired.
- Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush chicken and apricot halves with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill chicken and apricot halves until chicken is cooked through and apricots are slightly charred, 7 to 8 minutes per side for chicken and 2 minutes per side for apricots.
- Divide bulgur salad among plates. Place 1 grilled chicken breast on each plate. Spoon dollop of pesto atop chicken. Divide apricot halves among plates and serve.