Fresh Corn Polenta with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes

Fresh Corn Polenta with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes is a great version of an Ample Bites favorite side. The fresh corn mixed into the creamy polenta and the topping of sweet cherry tomatoes give this staple a cheery summer flair.

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Fresh Corn Polenta with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Tasting Table, 2015)

Makes 4 large servings

For Polenta

3 cups fat-free milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch Kosher salt
1 cup corn meal
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 medium ears)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

For Tomato Topping

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 pints fresh cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (such as oregano, thyme, basil and parsley)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan

To prepare the polenta: Preheat oven to 200F Warm setting. In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat add milk and bring to a gentle boil Add butter, salt, corn meal and corn and gently stir until the mixture returns to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is thick and smooth, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the Parmesan. Cover the skillet and transfer to the oven to keep warm.

To prepare the tomato topping: Heat a large skillet over high heat, add oil, tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until the tomatoes burst, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the herbs and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve over the polenta with Parmesan sprinkled on top.

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Asian-Marinated Baked Chicken Thighs

Asian-Marinated Baked Chicken Thighs is a dish that has crispy skin and super moist meat. The peppers impart just a bit of zing and the other marinade ingredients give the chicken a definitive, yet subtle, Asian flavor.

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Asian-Marinated Baked Chicken Thighs
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Chef Naomi Pomeroy, 2015)

Serves 6

12 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
5 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
2 lemons. sliced in 1/4-inch-thick rings
6 sprigs thyme
12 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with excess flaps of skin removed

Whisk together in a large bowl, garlic, chiles, ginger, olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, fish sauce, and salt until salt and sugar dissolve. Add lemon slices and thyme. Place chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag and cover with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours and preferably overnight. Turn occasionally to coat the chicken. Remove from the refrigerator at least an hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 450F. Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess. Place skin-side up on a large rimmed baking sheet, taking care not to crowd the chicken pieces. Roast until cooked through with an internal temperature of 165F, about 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Herbed Turkey Burgers with Red Onion Aioli

Herbed Turkey Burgers with Red Onion Aioli combine the strong flavors of basil, parsley and a bit of jalapeno with the silky smoothness of a homemade aioli. The Red Onion Aioli is as good on french fries or baked parmesan potatoes as it is on a burger.

IMG_5995Herbed Turkey Burgers with Red Onion Aioli
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Makes 6 burgers

2 lbs ground turkey
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
1/2 medium jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp anchovy paste
Freshly ground black pepper

1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
6 garlic cloves, peeled
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare aioli: Preheat oven to 400F. Spray cooking spray on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place the red onion rings on the baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Place the garlic cloves in a small foil packet, drizzle with oil and seal. Place the garlic packet on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Coarsely chop the onion. Put the onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse. Add the lemon juice and zest and pulse. Add egg yolks and pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly add the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Pour the aioli into bowl, cover and refrigerate until serving.

Combine the herbs, scallions and jalapeno in a food processor and pulse. Add the mayonnaise and anchovy paste and pulse. Season with pepper. In a large bowl thoroughly mix the herbed mayonnaise with the ground turkey. Form into 6 1/3-pound patties.

Heat grill for medium direct cooking. Cook the burgers for 5 minutes, rotating 90 degrees halfway through to enhance grill marks. Flip and grill for another 4 minutes for medium doneness. Serve on grilled buns topped with the Red Onion Aioli.

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Greek Chicken Pizza with Olive Tapenade

Greek Chicken Pizza with Olive Tapenade is built off of a par-baked mozzarella-sprinkled flatbread and finished with a tzatziki sauce, a garlicky Kalamata olive tapenade, slices of chicken and pepper slices. This recipe was inspired by my son, Nolan, and his Greek Chicken Pizza on a Pita.

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Greek Chicken Pizza with Olive Tapenade
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Makes 4 12-inch Pizzas

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Greek Seasoning (such as Cavender’s All-Purpose)
Extra-virgin olive oil

Pizza dough (See previous Ample Bites post “Best Pizza Dough”)

16 oz. plain greek yogurt
4 oz. light sour cream
Greek Seasoning
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese

1 14-ounce jar kalamata olives, drained and coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

1 large red pepper, stemmed, seeded, quartered and sliced
1 small green pepper, stemmed, seeded, quartered and sliced
8 oz. creamy plain goat cheese
12 oz. shredded mozzarella
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil

Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing crusts and for drizzling

To prepare the chicken breasts: About 30 minutes before cooking the chicken season all sides with Greek seasoning and let sit at room temperature. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken uncovered for about 5 minutes, or until a good sear is made. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Turn the heat to low and cover with a large pan lid and cook for another 5 minutes or until internal temperature reads 160F. Remove an allow to rest. Slice the chicken just before baking the pizzas.

To prepare the Tzatziki Sauce: Combine the yogurt, sour cream, 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning, lemon juice, parsley, basil and grated parmesan. Mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

To prepare the Olive Tapenade: Combine the olives, garlic, and parsley in a food processor with a few dashes of oil and black pepper to taste. Pulse until nicely chopped but not smooth. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Pulse the shredded mozzarella and remaining fresh basil in a food processor until nearly smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 500F for baking with baking stone or steel in the oven as it warms. Roll out a quarter of the pizza dough on a flour-coated board. Brush with oil from edge-to-edge sprinkle with a quarter of the basil-mozzeralla mix. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove to a warm oven and repeat with the remaining dough.

With each cooked dough, spread a quarter of the tzatziki sauce, top with chicken slices, olive tapenade, goat cheese, and peppers. Bake for 5 minutes more until the goat cheese melts and the vegetables warm and soften. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

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Chicken and Shiitake Tsukune

Chicken and Shiitake Tsukune is a yakitori. The chicken is in the form of a sausage that is seasoned with finely chopped green onion and cilantro. The chicken sausages and skewers of shiitake mushroom caps are grilled and glazed with a sweet and savory sticky sauce called a tare.

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Chicken and Shiitake Tsukune
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Serves 2 to 4

6 Tbsp granulated sugar
6 Tbsp mirin
6 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
6 Tbsp sake
20 oz. ground chicken
4 scallions, white part only, minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
2 Tbsp sake
2 tsp rice starch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
16 oz. shiitake mushrooms, caps only
Canola oil for frying

To make the yakitori tare, combine the sugar, mirin, soy sauce and sake in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue to boil until the sauce becomes thick. The sauce will be finished when the bubbles go from small to large and glossy.

Put the ground chicken in a large bowl and gently break it apart. In a small bowl combine the scallions, cilantro, sake and rice starch. Mix to combine. Add the mixture to the chicken and combine thoroughly. Form the chicken mixture into 8 to 10 sausage logs about 1-inch in diameter. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cooking.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the vessel. Fry the sausage logs on each side until just golden brown. Run a bamboos skewer through each before grilling to allow for easier handling.

Heat grill to medium-low for direct grilling. Place the sausage logs in a loose foil wrap to that they do not burn as they cook to an internal temp of 160F. Brush the sausage logs with plenty of tare and return them to the grill, again on foil, to allow the glaze to caramelize. During this step add the shiitakes and glaze them as well.

Serve with rice and an Asian Slaw with extra tare on the side.

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