I've been waiting months to find a suitable recipe on which I could glut myself in the flavors of provence, and luckily I found one before my herbes lost their zing (or became curried herbes de provence because of their awkward proximity to my other spices!) While I'm no expert on such matters, I can safely assert that my particular mixture included thyme, rosemary and lavender and in combination with balsamic vinegar produced one of the most succulent pieces of meat I have ever eaten. The recipe, of course, calls for grilling, but since the weather has turned I opted for roasting in the oven. I was not disappointed. I served with piccolini pasta tossed in the reduced marinade (yes, boiled for 3.5 minutes . . .) and garlic wax beans with walnuts and mushrooms.
Herbed Balsamic Chicken with Blue Cheese
adapted from Bon Appetit
6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, 5-6 oz. each
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp coarse kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tsp herbes de Provence
3-4 oz. wedge of blue cheese, cut into 6 slices
Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag (I used the one the frozen chicken breast came in.) Whisk vinegar, oil, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in small bowl. Add to chicken, seal bag and chill 2 hours, turning bag occasionally. You really want that chicken to absorb that marinade, so make sure you turn it like it says.
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Arrange chicken on a large pan or grill pan and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and herbes de provence. It's important that I'm honest here: I'm pretty sure I used more than that. I wasn't crazy about it, but I simply sprinkled the underside of each piece of chicken, then turned it over and sprinkled it again. Into the oven for 25-3o minutes, or until cooked to 165˚F when thermometer is inserted in the thickest portion of the breast. You could also grill over medium-high heat for 6 minutes per side, but who's going to do that in the rain and wind? Not I.
Transfer to plates and top each breast with a slice of cheese. Do it fast so the heat from the chicken softens the cheese. Enjoy that thyme, lavender, and everything flavor like it's going out of style.