Cancer Center Cooks: Grilled Chicken & Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa

Published on July 12, 2018


Grilled Chicken & Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa

Summer is the perfect time to introduce new produce into your family’s menu. Fruits and vegetables like corn, tomatoes, blackberries, raspberries, peaches and green beans are at its peak in the summertime.

Our recent cooking class highlighted dark blue and purple fruits and vegetables that contain phytonutrients. 

These are very important nutrients found mostly in the skin of some fruits and vegetables that have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and cell protective actions. These nutrients also help with cognitive and heart health.

The main dish prepared in our June cooking class was a Grilled Chicken & Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa, which utilized fresh summer ingredients and is great option for your next backyard barbecue!

Grilled Chicken & Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa


  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 16- to 18-ounce tube prepared plain polenta
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
  • 2 nectarines, halved and pitted
  • 1 pint blackberries, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Hot sauce, to taste


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, cumin, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub 1 teaspoon of the mixture all over polenta. Rub the rest into both sides of chicken. Cut the polenta crosswise into 8 slices. Rub the cut sides of nectarine halves with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil.
  3. Oil the grill rack. Place the chicken, polenta slices and nectarines on the grill. Grill the polenta until hot and slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Grill the nectarines, turning occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes total. Grill the chicken, until cooked through
  4. h and no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken and nectarines to a cutting board. Coarsely chop the nectarines. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, and then thinly slice.
  5. While the chicken rests, combine the chopped nectarines, blackberries, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Layer the polenta, chicken and fruit salsa on 4 plates and serve.

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