Friday, June 5, 2009


I'm on a mission to convince Food Network TV that they should create a calendar of their "hottie" stars. Of course, Tyler would be featured on the cover of said calendar. If you agree, what do you say we flood their mailbox with requests. In the meantime, I'll have to content myself with the few cookbook covers I have along with his appearances on my TV screen. That said, let's move on to the second thing we love about Tyler--his food.

I'm finding that my favorite Tyler recipes are those for pasta dishes. This particular recipe, though it has "cold" in its title, was absolutely incredible served warm the first night and cold as leftovers. This is the first incarnation of Tyler's cold pasta salad, but it will not be the last. I am going to make it again in the coming week with my own twists.

I like to give a recipe an even break the first time and make it as written, so that is what I did. Again, the flavor was incredible, but I'll discuss later how I intend to tweak the recipe.

Serves 4
Kosher salt
extra virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb plums, halved and pitted
1 lb penne

1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch fresh chives, minced
handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

1/4 lb crumbled blue cheese
handful fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Heat a 2-count of oil in a cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium high heat until almost smoking. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Flip the breasts again, then place in the oven and cook until the juices run clear (another 12-20 minutes). In the last 8 minutes of cooking, add the plums in with the chicken. Remove plums and chicken from the pan and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta to the al dente stage. Drain after chilling with cold water.

Make the vinaigrette last by whisking together the mustard, vinegar, and sugar in a large serving bowl, then whisking in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the chopped herbs. Slice the chicken and toss into the bowl along with the pasta, the blue cheese, and the whole basil leaves. Toss, taste for seasoning, then serve with the plums alongside.
Now, about those "tweaks." This is the second Tyler recipe that called for beginning the chicken by sauteeing, then finishing it in the oven. I have to say I do not like this method for 2 reasons. First, it uses more oil than necessary. Second, the chicken isn't as moist as it can be. Next time I make this pasta salad, I will prepare the chicken the way I normally do. I will marinate it with some Italian dressing, my own or bottled, then grill the chicken. This produces a more flavorful and moist chicken. I may also substitute skinless, boneless thighs as that is what SO and I prefer.

Next, while the plums looked pretty, they were pretty mushy and didn't add much to the salad. I will eliminate these entirely or wait until plums hit their peak. It was a pain to split and pit them and they just weren't very sweet. Plus, there was that mushiness and I only had them in the oven about 5 minutes, not the called for 8. I am toying with the idea of adding some very ripe, seeded and cored, chopped tomato.

Finally, I am going to replace the "saved" olive oil calories with some chopped bacon. After all, what is blue cheese without bacon?

I hope Tyler will forgive me for these changes. I'm pretty sure he will since he's an understanding type of guy and, after all, it will still be HIS recipe. I'll be sure to post the pasta salad redux when I try it.
Please be sure to visit Tyler Florence Fridays to see what other terrific Tyler dishes are being celebrated this week.


  1. I am all for the adding of bacon!
    I think I like his pasta recipes best too, or else I just love pasta best.. hard to say.
    Looks tasty! Love all the fresh herbs.

  2. I am intrigued by the addition of plums in this recipe. Sounds very tasty.

  3. I have heard Tyler mention several times that he loves bacon, so you can be sure he won't be mad at you!! I haven't seen this recipe before. It looks terrific.

  4. Bacon!!! I am definitely in the mood for a good, cold pasta salad. But I agree about leaving out the plums - not a big fan of them.

  5. It looks delicious but bring on that bacon! ;-)

  6. thanks for coming over to my blog. this sounds great, perfect for summer- which I hope is coming soon here to RI.
    Happy TFF!

  7. Sounds absolutely wonderful and I too agree wholeheartedly with the addition of the bacon!

  8. I am sure Tyler will not argue with the addition of bacon!

    I really like this method of cooking chicken. The breasts that I get from my store are really, really thick and finishing them in the oven assures me that they are cooked through and through.

  9. I think Tyler's savory fruit dishes are his best. I've got to try the Chicken with Plums and Blue that sounds so good.

    Tyler is the best!

  10. tyler has a way of mixing fruit components in that just really works. i've been drooling over this recipe for a long time. i love pasta, cold or not and he hasn't let me down with either pasta recipe i've tried so far.

    i'm ready to start sending my emails to foodnetwork for the hottie calendar!! :P he's the hottest one though, maybe they could feature him on the cover and then inside for every month!

  11. Oh man, I've been craving pasta salad lately!! This looks delicious :D

  12. I can't believe I missed meeting you in person this Saturday. Dan said something about someone stopping in who knew me from my blog, but I didn't realize it was you! Yeah, I have a nice chest cold inherited from one of my kids and am still limping along, so it was good for your health that I wasn't hacking away in the bookstore on Saturday. I would have really enjoyed chatting books and food with you. Until next time....Maybe we can sneak away for a little culinary tour of some ethnic or farmers markets!

  13. I made this recently, according to the recipe. It was fabulous. The plums weren't mushy and were a great addition. Wouldn't make any changes to it, especially by adding bacon. It's too salty, fatty, and not very healthy.


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