1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, 1⁄2 cup of olive oil, basil, salt, black pepper, vinegar, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until chunky smooth. Transfer half of the pesto to a glass or stainless-steel baking dish. Cover the remaining pesto and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. One at a time, lay each breast on the counter and carefully slice across the center horizontally to create 2 thin halves. Place each half between sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet, rolling pin, or heavy skillet to pound it to an even cutlet about 1⁄4 inch thick.
3. Place the chicken in the baking dish with the pesto, turning it to coat. Cover and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
4. When ready to cook, remove the reserved pesto from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
5. Place the flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Use a fork to lift each piece of chicken from the marinade and dredge it through the flour, lightly coating both sides.
6. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the butter and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat until the butter is melted and sizzling.
7. Several pieces at a time, fry the chicken until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until cooked through. Repeat with remaining chicken.
To serve, drizzle the chicken with the reserved pesto.
Cook's Note: If you have the time and own a mortar and pestle, use it instead of the food -processor to make the pesto. The flavor is better, and bashing garlic is oddly therapeutic.
This and other great recipes can be found in J.M. Hirsch's book, High Flavor, Low Labor, available for purchase on amazon.com.
Next up: Try another easy toss-it-all-together meal, BLT Linguine.