perfect herbed grilled chicken + corn with kale + basil pesto

What I’m about to say will shock you, but after three weeks of devouring copious amounts of fresh, rich cheeses, ribbons of homemade pasta, warm baguettes, and flaky almond croissants, all I wanted was a bowl piled high with greens. Much to my shock, awe and chagrin, I’ve learned that it is possible to tire of pastry and white flour.

It is possible to say: PLEASE, NO MORE CROISSANTS!

As soon as my plane touched down and I made my way through the labyrinth that is JFK, all I craved were kale and protein. Perhaps to punish myself for all the delectable eats I consumed during my three-week European food odyssey, I turned to the BIG GOOPER herself, Gwyneth. We’re going to ignore the People cover story, gloss over her I’m just like you, bit, and leap into the pages of her cookbook, which do indeed hold a fair amount of goodness. SMITE YOU, GWYNNIE!

Three years ago, I was a woman who cooked at home. Walked half a mile to the subway, just because. Eschewed meal delivery. I was fit, healthy and strong, and over the course of three years I somehow managed to turn into someone who downloads Seamless Web, uses it, and becomes addicted to it. Complains about walking anywhere. During my holiday, I walked for eight to twelve hours a day and I fell in love with it all over again. The way one can get lost, hatch plans and strange ideas, and feel alone, but not lonely — this is what walking affords you.

When I came home, my friend was barren, and I immediately stocked it with greens, meats, and fresh herbs. Can I tell you how good it felt to grill a chicken? It’s so minor, a shift imperceptible to anyone BUT ME, but my walking, my cooking, my need for space and quiet, reminds me of a version of myself that I miss.

Here’s to being back. Here’s to seeing where the day takes you. Here’s to eating virtuously.

INGREDIENTS: Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good.
Serves 4
For the chicken
1 tsp very finely chopped fresh sage
1 tsp very finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp very finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp very finely chopped fresh basil
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded to barely 1/4 inch thick


For the kale + basil pesto corn (I modified Paltrow’s basic pesto recipe to include kale. If you’re not keen on kale, just use one cup of packed basil leaves, instead.)
3 tbsp pine nuts
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed flat kale leaves (not the curly kind)
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the chicken: Combine the herbs, garlic, olive oil, lemon zest/juice, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl and rub the herb mixture all over each piece, being sure to get it on both sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the chicken mariante for at least 1/2 hr (I recommend an hour), or as long as overnight. I marinated my chicken for an hour at room temperature, however, if you’re going for overnight, just make sure that you let your chicken come to room temperature before you grill it.


Heat a grill or grill pan (I used my panini press, true story) over medium heat. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, 2-3 minutes on each side.

For the kale + basil pesto corn: In a medium pot with salted water, add 2 cups frozen corn and cook until tender (6-7 minutes), stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.

Blitz all of the ingredients in a food processor until the pesto has a rough texture. To be honest, I’ve never tasted a difference when you blitz the nuts + garlic prior to adding the leaves, so I tend to add in the lot in one shot.

Add 1/4-1/2 cup of the pesto to the corn. I tend to like a light coating, so I used a 1/4 cup for 4 servings of corn. This is purely my preference.


One thought on “perfect herbed grilled chicken + corn with kale + basil pesto

  1. We were in Haiti earlier this spring. All I could think of after a week was fresh greens, I NEED GREENS. I never thought the idea of a bowl of braised collards would assume the force of an intense sexual fantasy–little did I know. Ken


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