From Marcus Bean’s Chicken – available for pre-order from Amazon now.
In our busy lives, we often need something that will cook quickly, so pan-fried chicken is a great option. Melt a little butter or oil in a heavy-based frying pan or griddle over a medium to high heat and, when it is hot and bubbling, add the chicken. Cook it skin-side down first to give a crisp skin and help to seal in moisture. You could fry it until it is coloured and sealed, then finish it in a hot oven, but you can also simply cook in the pan until the meat is tender.
This method is best for breast meat and imparts a lovely colour and texture to the chicken. You can cook the breasts whole, in which case this is one of the best ways to get a lovely crispy skin, or slice the meat into goujons or strips for stir-frying quickly over a high heat. Halfway between frying and grilling, if you use a chargrill pan to cook chicken, you’ll get attractive dark bars across the meat.
To give the technique a whirl, try this delicious and healthy salad with chicken with asparagus. The asparagus is kept raw and peeled thinly into strips, then combined with that fantastic, nutrient-packed and much-under-used grain, quinoa.
Quinoa, Chicken & Asparagus Salad
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
120g/4¼oz/scant ⅔ cup quinoa
4 skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chopped chives
grated zest and juice of ½ orange
12 asparagus stems, cut into long, thin strips using a vegetable peeler
2 carrots, peeled and cut into long, thin strips using a vegetable peeler
8 spring onions, finely sliced into strips
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil over a high heat. Add the quinoa and return to the boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10–15 minutes until tender. Drain through a fine sieve, then leave to dry out for a couple of minutes.
2. Meanwhile, put the chicken in a bowl, pour in the oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together to coat the chicken in the oil. Heat a chargill pan, then add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes on each side until browned and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the chicken is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove from the grill pan and leave to rest for a few minutes, then cut the chicken into thick slices.
3. Put the quinoa in a bowl and add the chives and orange zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pile onto plates. Mix together the asparagus and carrot strips and pile on top of the quinoa. Top with the chicken, then scatter with the spring onions and serve.
“In Chicken I have set out to give you the best of the classic chicken recipes, experimenting with modern and unexpected twists along the way. But I have also created new recipes, exploring great flavour combinations that I hope will help you to revolutionize the way you cook with chicken.”
Out September 2014