Ashley Farms Chicken Breast with Asparagus Pesto & Arugula

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by Weathervane Chef Ryan Payne


4 boneless, skinless Ashley Farms chicken breasts
Lemon Chicken Brine, recipe follows
2 ears of fresh corn, cut off the cob
1 roma tomato, chopped
4 cups arugula
4 slices country bread
4 slices Chapel Hill Creamery mozzarella
good aged Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Asparagus Pesto, recipe follows

Lemon Chicken Brine
2 lemons, halved
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons thyme
4 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, rough chop
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/3 cup kosher salt
1 3/4 cups water

Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons tarragon, fresh chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Asparagus Pesto
1 bunch asparagus, bottoms trimmed
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 cup olive oil, or to taste
1/8 cup pine nuts
Salt and pepper


To Make Brine
Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot, cover and bring to a boil.
Stir to dissolve the salt.
Once it is to a boil, boil for only one minute.
Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature before using.

Getting started
Place the chicken a sheet of plastic wrap, cover the top with another layer of plastic.
With a mallet, pound the chicken to an even 3/4-inch thickness and submerge in lemon brine.
Leave in the brine and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Meanwhile make the vinaigrette and the pesto.

Directions for Vinaigrette
Combine lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon, garlic and sugar in food processor.
Slowly add olive oil until combined. Add zest and tarragon.
Season with salt and black pepper.

Directions for Pesto
Blanch asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, cool in ice water bath.
Remove asparagus from the ice water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Put asparagus, pine nuts, garlic, basil and parmesan in the food processor and puree until smooth.
Slowly pour in olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To finish the dish
Take the chicken out of the brine and dry. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. On a hot grill, grill the chicken until done, about 4 minutes on each side. While chicken is cooking, cut the country bread, season with oil, salt and pepper and grill mark. Place the mozzarella on the bread and melt it in the oven. In a mixing bowl, combine the corn, arugula, tomatoes and toss with the lemon vinaigrette and salt and pepper.
To plate, place the bread in the center of the plate, top it with the chicken and then the salad on top. Put the asparagus pesto on the plate and drizzle the entire dish with the balsamic, not too much.

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