This pan-fried chicken breast with spiced butter is a brilliant combination of warming flavours and pure, fresh spice. It’s also a quick way to make a meal a little different while keeping things really simple and light.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 4 chicken breasts, skin on
- A little rapeseed oil
For the Spiced Butter and Algier Aioli
- 7 oz (200 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tsp ras el hanout
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
- Sea salt
- 2 medium egg yolks
- 300–450 ml (10–16 fl oz) fruity olive oil
- 1 lemon juice and ½ lemon zest
- 1 tsp Garam Masala blend
For the Vinaigrette and Green Salad
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 1½ tbsp best-quality Dijon mustard
- 5 fl oz (150 ml) grapeseed or sunflower oil
- 3 tbsp fruity olive oil
- 1 tsp good-quality white wine vinegar
- ½ tsp golden caster sugar
- Fine sea salt and finely ground black pepper
- 4 Baby Gem lettuce hearts
- 1 large bunch of chives, tarragon and chervil
How to Make It
For the Spiced Butter
- Mix all the spiced butter ingredients together in a small bowl. If not using immediately, lay a square of clingfilm on your work surface, put the butter mix at one end, then carefully roll it up into a sausage shape. Twist each end like a sweet wrapper and put it into the fridge. When you need it, simply slice a thin disc of butter off the end, remove the clingfilm and off you go.
- Using a sharp knife, slice along the length of the thickest part of each breast to form a pocket, taking care not to slice right through.
- Divide 100 g (3½oz) of the spiced butter into four pieces (keep the remainder, wrapped in clingfilm, in the fridge for up to four weeks). Spread one piece of butter into the pocket of each breast and secure with a skewer.
- Put a griddle, sauté pan or frying pan over a medium heat. Rub a little oil over the skin of each breast and, when the pan is good and hot, put the chicken pieces into the pan, skin-side down, and fry gently for about 5 minutes – don’t move the chicken in the pan at this stage.
- Turn the chicken pieces over, cover and turn down the heat to low. Allow to cook in the vibrant-coloured, buttery juices until the chicken is done; to test, pierce the thickest part with a skewer; the juices should run clear, not pink. This will take about 5–8 minutes. Algier Aioli
- While the chicken is cooking, make the aïoli and the vinaigrette. Crush the garlic with a little salt until it forms a paste. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and garlic paste together until thick.
- Whisking continuously, pour in half the olive oil in a thin stream, then add a little of the lemon juice and some more oil. Continue beating, adding alternately more lemon juice and more oil until you have a thick mayonnaise.
- Adjust the salt to taste and add the Garam Masala and lemon zest. Mix and set aside. For the Vinaigrette
- To make the vinaigrette, rub the inside of a large screwtop jar very firmly with the cut edge of the garlic clove.
- Add all the dressing ingredients, then pour in 50 ml (2 fl oz) boiling water (the water goes in last to prevent the jar from cracking).
- Screw the lid on tightly and shake very, very vigorously until everything emulsifies – a minute or so should do it. For the Green Salad
- Divide the lettuce leaves among four plates. Spoon the vinaigrette generously over the leaves, then scatter the herbs on top.
- Put the chicken breasts on the plates and serve with warmed flatbread and a ramekin of Algier Aïoli.