For the less experimental cooks, Johnson offers a classic dish he learned from his formative years working at the Whitehouse Crawford saying, "I don't know why this dish had such an impression on me, other than it's just a really solid dish, but it's one that Jamie [Guerin, Executive Chef] did at the Whitehouse [Crawford Restaurant in Walla Walla] and I always enjoyed eating or plating it."
Jamie Guerin's Stuffed Chicken Thighs
yield 5 servings
5 deboned chicken thighs (brined in a basic brine of 2 tbsps of kosher salt for every 2.5 cups of water for 2 to 3 hours)
2 cups of Picholine or green olives diced or sliced
10 slices of prosciutto
Season the brined and deboned chicken thigh with salt and replace the bone with prosciutto and sliced or diced olives. Roll the chicken around itself and sear between two cast iron pans until the skin is crispy and the middle of the thigh reads 145 to 150 degrees. The chicken will carry over cooking when taken off the heat. Serve the stuffed chicken thigh over a grilled fig and wilted arugula salad.
Grilled figs and wilted arugula salad
2.5 cups of fregola sarda
5 cups of arugula
5 figs, halved and grilled
1.5 cups pine nuts
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
1 brunoised shallot
1 sprig of finely chopped thyme
Cook fregola sarda based on the instructions on the package and set aside. Halve the figs and grill. Make the lemon vinaigrette for the salad mixing a 2:1 extra virgin and lemon juice ratio, and add the brunoise shallot, chopped thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the arugula as close to service as possible to prevent the arugula from browning. The arugula should wilt slightly to the heat of the fregola sarda and grilled figs. Dress with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with pine nuts.