Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Grilled Chicken Breast with Pecan Pear Salad

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert

Grilled chicken breast with pecan pear salad
Serves 4


For the marinade and glaze:

3/4 cup honey

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the brine:

2 tablespoons kosher salt

4 cups water

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)


Make the marinade. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl; set aside. Make the brine. Place the salt and water in a large (gallon-sized) ziptop bag and stir until the salt is dissolved. Add half of the marinade and stir to combine. Reserve the remaining marinade in the bowl for glazing the finished chicken. Pound the chicken thin. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, place a breast inside a gallon zip-top bag. Use the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin and pound until 1/4-inch thick. Set the flattened chicken breast aside and repeat with remaining breasts. Marinate the chicken. Place the chicken in the zip-top bag with the marinade and brine and massage to coat. Seal the bag and place on a baking sheet. Arrange the chicken so it is sitting in a single layer in the bag. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight. Prepare the grill. Prepare an outdoor grill for both high direct and indirect heat. Scrape any debris from the grill grates and oil well. Pat the chicken dry. Remove the chicken breasts from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Grill over direct heat. Place the chicken breast over direct heat, with the grill's grates running at an angle against the width of the breast. For the best grill marks, avoid moving the chicken once it has been set down and avoid pressing, prodding, or poking for 3 minutes.

Flip the chicken — when ready, the breasts will lift up easily for flipping. Cook the second side until grill marks appear, about 3 minutes more. Grill over indirect heat. Move the chicken to indirect heat (or reduce the heat to medium on a gas grill). Brush with the reserved glaze. Check the chicken for doneness with a digital probe thermometer. The chicken is ready when it registers 165°F. Brush with more reserved glaze, if desired. Rest the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board or serving platter and let rest 5 minutes. Slice if desired.

Blue-Cheese-Pear-Pecan Salad

Yield: 6 servings


1 to 2 Asian pears

3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

3/4 pecan halves, toasted

2 heads Romaine, leaves only, and baby greens mixed

1/4 cup Bellei balsamic vinegar

3 cloves garlic, crushed

5 fresh basil leaves, minced

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup olive oil


Mix the pears, cheese, pecans and romaine-baby greens in a medium-sized salad bowl. For the dressing; stir together the vinegar, garlic, basil, honey, salt, and pepper and then add oil slowly in a small bowl with wire whisk. Toss the dressing with the salad just before serving.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog


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