Grilled Cornish Hens with Sun-Dried-Tomato Pesto
Since the tomato pesto here is made in a processor or blender, you have to make more than the small quantity needed. Use leftover pesto later in the week on grilled vegetables or fish. It's also a delicious addition to sandwiches, not to mention pasta.
- 2/3 cup reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes, or sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 Cornish hens (about 1 1/4 pounds each), halved
- 1. Light the grill. In a food processor or blender, mince the tomatoes and garlic with the Parmesan, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. With the machine running, add the oil in a thin stream and continue whirring until the ingredients are well mixed.
- 2. With your fingers, loosen the skin from the breast meat of each hen, leaving the skin around the edge attached. For each half hen, spread 1 tablespoon of pesto under the skin and 1 tablespoon over it. Cook the hens over moderate heat, skin-side down, for 12 minutes. Turn the hens and cook until just done, about 12 minutes longer.
- Menu Suggestions: Creamy polenta topped with a dollop of the extra pesto will be perfect with the hens. Also, since the grill is already hot, you might throw on some vegetables--peppers, zucchini, asparagus.
- Reconstituting Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- In a small pan, bring enough water to a boil to cover the dried tomatoes. Add the tomatoes, then remove from the heat and let them steep in the hot water for about 5 minutes. Drain.
- Wine Recommendation: For this grilled dish, with its smoke, salt, and acidity (from tomatoes), choose a wine that's simple and refreshing. Among the many options are Italian red wines with good acidity such as Chianti Classico or dolcetto.
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