Base Jumping is for Wusses

There is a natural ebb and flow to cooking a meal. Whether your following a recipe or making it up as you go along, the distinct moments of intense focus and stress followed by a comforting break in the action and so on and so on often make or break the love (or hate) you have for cooking. It may not be chasing tornadoes or jumping off cliffs, but I’m addicted to the action that goes on in a kitchen. So much of that (at least for me) stems from how often the finished meal barely resembles my initial plan…

Last night I had this idea of white beans in a broccoli rabe pesto. I went back and forth on this one. Would it be the entire meal, a component of a soup, or even a base for something else. But when I finally got home, I knew I wasn’t going to have the time, at least not if I wanted to prepare my meal relaxingly. So I quickly changed up my plan of action mixing the broccoli rabe with the beans, along with some freshly shredded sharp asiago and a little lemon zest and baked it in the oven until golden and bubbly. On it’s own this would have been good, but as a topping to those chicken breasts sitting in my fridge, I thought it would be even better! But aren’t chicken breasts boring…

 I thought to pound them and bread them, but I was out of breadcrumbs, and once again I didn’t have all the time in the world. But then I saw those pecans that I’ve been saving for nothing. I’ve always loved the idea of a pecan crust but never followed through. Here was my opportunity. Without thought of how the flavors would marry, I crushed the pecans, packed them over the seasoned chicken breasts and roasted them in the oven along with the beans. I wasn’t sure of how this was all going to turn out but at this point it was too late. I plated the dish and braced myself for the first bite. Stunned silence…followed by a giant “wow!”. This combination was a knock out. The nuttiness of the pecans was a perfect crunch and flavor to pair with the creamy beans and broccoli rabe mixture. With the saltiness of the cheese, the brightness of the lemon, and the great flavor of the chicken (yes, quality chicken has real flavor) even my missing camera and the subsequent low quality cell phone picture taken couldn’t ruin this one!

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