Grilled Chicken Bruschetta with Poached Egg and Piquillo Pepper Pesto

I am a man that cooks pretty much every weekday. When I don’t, I can’t help but feel incomplete. That sensation hit me yesterday at about 3pm when I realized I had not turned on my stove all day. Before I knew it, I was peering into my pantry, fridge and freezer, trying to find something to prepare.

I stumbled across a jar of roasted piquillo peppers and a loaf of Italian bread my husband picked up from the market the other day. My pillage of the refrigerator led me to a dozen eggs, and in the freezer was a pack of chicken breasts. Before I knew it, the gears in my brain started to turn, and this recipe blossomed.

Imagine bruschetta if it decided to take performance-enhancing drugs. This Grilled Chicken Bruschetta with Poached Egg and Piquillo Pepper Pesto is a larger manifestation of one of my favorite appetizers to make for the gatherings I have. It is loaded with protein and bursting with flavor. And thanks to the addition of the egg, it’s suitable for consumption any time of the day.

For your next gathering, serve this as a starter or even the main course. That is what I did last night, accompanied by a robust salad. And it is something I plan on doing again!

Grilled Chicken Bruschetta with Poached Egg and Piquillo Pepper Pesto

(recipe serving size – 3 pieces)

For the chicken:

1/2 pound chicken breast, boneless and skinless (2 pieces, 1/2-inch thick)

1 tb olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the chicken breasts with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill on each side for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through (depending on the thickness of the chicken, the time may change). While the chicken cooks, tent with aluminum foil. Remove the chicken from the pan once cooked. Allow the chicken to rest for 2-3 minutes then cut into small 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

For the piquillo pepper pesto:

1/4 cup fresh basil, loosely packed (extra for garnish)

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 roasted piquillo pepper in water, patted dry

Place ingredients into a small food processor and blend until incorporated.

For the poached eggs:

3 large eggs

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1 bowl of icy water

Fill a sauce pan with a little over an inch of water. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add the white wine vinegar to the water, making sure to spread the vinegar around. Carefully drop the eggs into the water and cook for about 2 minutes, until the whites of the eggs have set and the yolks are still soft.

Using a slotted spoon or one with holes, remove the eggs from the pan one at a time and set them gently into the bowl of icy water to prevent the egg yolks from cooking any further.

For the bread:

3 slices of your favorite bread, roughly 4 inches in width

1 tb olive oil

Brush both sides of the slices of bread with the oil. Grill the bread using a grill pan over medium-high heat until toasted on each side. This can take as little as 30 seconds to complete, so watch the bread carefully to keep from burning.

Bringing it all together:

In a small skillet, toss the cubes of chicken in 1 tablespoon of the piquillo pepper pesto over medium-high heat until the chicken has reheated all the way through. Return the poached eggs back to the warm poaching water to reheat as well (should only take 30 seconds to 1 minute). Place equal amounts of chicken onto each piece of grilled bread. Add one poached egg atop each mound of chicken. Drizzle with the remaining pesto and garnish with basil. Serve while warm.

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