Monday, 2 December 2013
Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Greek Village Salad and Minted Tzatziki
Hello everybody! This is another one of those entries "I wasn't originally planning on sharing but turned out really good so I will anyway" kind of dishes. I didn't take photos throughout so I'll just go over it briefly with words. I was in the mood for Greek but I wanted to keep it light and refreshing. I love village salad which is your typical chunky Greek salad without lettuce. I chopped some cucumber, grape tomatoes, red onion with both green and yellow bell peppers (for colour) and added some kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese. Salad = Done.
I love yogurt in savoury dishes and making sauces out of it. I made tzatziki, which is an immensely popular Greek yogurt condiment. All you do is seed some cucumber and then grate it. Squeeze as much water out of the cucumber as you can with some paper towel then mix with plain yogurt, a very finely minced clove of raw garlic, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt. That is a basic tzatziki although many people like to add fresh dill to it as well. Dill is alright, but personally I think fresh mint is 10 times better. So I used mint in mine.
As for the chicken breast I seasoned both sides with salt, pepper, paprika and dried oregano and then beat them into a uniform thickness. I added 2 tbsp of oil to a very hot skillet and laid the chicken in the pan to sear undisturbed for 2 minutes. Leaving it untouched will allow a perfect sear to form on the exterior of the meat. Just make sure it is very hot (the chicken should sizzle as soon as it hits the pan). After those 2 minutes I flipped the chicken to the other side and placed it in a preheated 400F/205C oven for about 8 minutes. This allows the other side to get a good sear while the middle of the chicken just cooks through but stays tender and juicy. I removed the chicken from the pan and squeezed some fresh lemon juice over it while it rested for about 5 minutes.
Then it was just a matter of assembling the plate. Some pretty quick and simple steps to create an outstanding meal. If you want something heartier you could do this exact same meal and add warm pita bread or steamy long grain rice for substance.
You might have noticed that I didn't dress my salad. It all depends on your plating. I actually quite like fresh vegetables the way they are but with this particular plating the tzatziki acts as a creamy dressing. If you wanted to do an extra step by making a Greek salad dressing you could use 1 part fresh lemon juice to 3-4 parts extra virgin olive oil and stir in some dried oregano, mined shallot, minced garlic and seasoning.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Stay tuned for more recipes and techniques!