Wish Upon A Dish: Honey + Citrus Pesto Chicken - Honey Board Recipe Redux Sponsored Recipe Contest

June 10, 2013

Honey + Citrus Pesto Chicken - Honey Board Recipe Redux Sponsored Recipe Contest

Does any other food describe summer on a plate better than pesto?
Named for the mortar and pestle traditionally used to prepare this iconic dish, most of us are familiar with those basic ingredients, basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and cheese.
Besides the basic Pesto alla Genovese, there are many other versions of pesto using sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and cilantro.

I put chicken pillard on the menu and was looking for something citrusy to spoon on top without it being too fruity. I wanted that bright bang when it hits the tongue, like a real lemon bar does.

A fruit salsa came to mind and then I moved on to a pesto but all the recipes posted just added zests and juice to an already basil pesto.
I wanted something void of basil, and I knew mint went well with citrus. Just so happens I had a ton of mint, just waiting to be used.

The National Honey Board is challenging Recipe Reduxers to develop creative ways to use honey!
They would like us to showcase honey’s culinary versatility and how it can be used as a substitution in everything from appetizers and baked goods to entrees and desserts.

This would be a perfect way to showcase honey's versatility. Refined sugar would be too harsh and I wanted just a background of smooth sweetness. Honey, it had to be.

I had a plan and I ran to the market, scooping up every citrus fruit I could find. I started with equal amounts of each and then added a little more of this and that until what I put in my mouth was the sun on a spoon. 
A spicy, sweet, tart, salty, chunky-type salsa which becomes the consistency of a pesto once the olive oil is added. This is very versatile. Thin for a pasta sauce (hot or cold), use as a marinade for shrimp or scallops, spread on a salmon burger, spoon over grilled fish steaks.
I could even see this on a clam pizza or as a pistou in a chowder.

Leftovers? Portion out 2 ounce condiment cups, label and freeze. Now when I need a little burst of summer citrus, I can defrost and go.

I roasted the sliced lemons, limes and oranges for 45 minutes and after they cooled, added them and all the other ingredients to the bowl of a processor or blender. The roasted did to the citrus what it does to vegetables, brought out the sweetness and cooked out the tartness.
I pulsed until the mixture was the consistency of jam. Right before serving I added a drizzle of olive oil to thin it out so it would mix well with the pasta and spooned a dollop of pesto on the chicken.

The honey was the perfect equalizer. This was good the next day on just a bowl of linguine but add a few shrimp on top and you have made a special luncheon dish for summertime entertaining.
As with many exceptional dishes, it gets better with time and will benefit with a night in the cooler.

The Honey Board also wants us to know a few more things about honey that maybe you did not already know:
- With more than 300 varietals in the United States, honey adds its own unique flavor profile to
every recipe.
- The National Honey Board has made it easy to find varietals by creating the website honeylocator.com.
- Honey has many versatile culinary benefits.
- Honey provides balance to any dish complementing and enhancing a variety of foods and flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory.
- Honey can mask the bitterness of gluten-free flours.
- Honey attracts and holds moisture, enhancing freshness and shelf life.
- Honey is naturally anti-microbial which helps to resist spoilage and extend shelf life.
- Honey is an emulsifier: the perfect ingredient to thicken and add body to sauces and dressings.
- Honey is best stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If your honey begins to crystallize, don’t throw it out. Just gently warm it and stir periodically until crystals dissolve.

Honey & Citrus Pesto
Prep time: 30 minute
Unattended time: 60 minutes
Makes: 1 1/4 cups

* 1/2 orange, sliced
* 1/2 lime, sliced
* 1 lemon, sliced
* 6 kumquats, chopped
* 1/3 cup honey
* 1/2 cup mint, chopped
* 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
* 2 tablespoons parsley
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon Asian garlic chili sauce
* 1/4 teaspoon 5 spice powder
* 1/2 cup pineapple with natural juice
* 1 tablespoon mirin
* 1 teaspoon soy sauce
* 1/3 cup toasted almonds
* 1/3 cup olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 425°.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil and spray with olive oil. Place the slices of citrus in a single layer and brush with olive oil.
3. Bake for 35 minutes and use that time to measure the spices and ingredients into the bowl of a processor or blender. The slices should be caramelized perfection.
4. Remove the fruit from the oven and allow it to cool. Add them to the other ingredients and pulse until the items are chunky but not totally pureed.

This is my second entry in this contest. This dish falls under the Main Course category. I hope to have 3 more posts in the upcoming week, each using honey.

Disclaimer: “By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by National Honey Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

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Deanna - Teaspoon of Spice said...

You got so many good things going on in this pesto - can't wait to try it out!

Elizabeth said...

that's so unique! love it