6 Chicken Thighs (cleaned and trimmed of excess fat)
1tbsp Chilli Flakes
1tbsp Olive Oil
1tsp Dried Thyme
100g Cherry Tomatoes (cut in half)
50g Black Olive (cut into Segments)
2tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
Small Bunch of Parsley
Prepare your chicken thighs, placing them skin side down and marinate the skinless exposed portion of the thighs in salt, pepper, olive oil, chilli flakes and thyme. Leave them to marinate for 4-6hrs, or preferably overnight.
About an hour before you begin cooking, remove your chicken thighs from the fridge and let them come up to room temperature.
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add a little olive oil and place your chicken skin side down and cover with a lid and cook for approximately 5-6mins. Remove the lid, turn the chicken skin side up and cook for another 1-2mins until lightly golden brown. The chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF. Remove and set aside the chicken.
Strain off the excess fat and oil from the pan. Deglaze your pan with the red wine vinegar, and allow it to reduce by half. Add your cherry tomatoes and olive segments to the pan and quickly toss them in the vinegar and pan juices and set aside.
Arrange your chicken thighs in a dish and garnish with your tomatoes, olives, parsley and chilli threads.
You’ll notice that I only marinated the exposed side of the chicken thighs and not all over including the skin. The reason being, the predominate cooking time is skin side down with the skin being in direct contact with the heat. If you marinated the chicken entirely, the seasoning (chilli flakes and thyme) would end up scorching.
People often make the mistake in incorrectly cooking chicken and fish, splitting their cooking time evenly between skin side down and up. When in fact, it’s better to cook it skin side down for approximately 70% of the cooking time and remaining 30% skin side up. So for example, if your total cooking time for a fillet of salmon with skin is 10mins. Than you would cook it skin side down for approximately 7mins, turn it and cook it skin side up for another 2-3mins. The reason being the skin helps act as a barrier, protecting the flesh during cooking. It also allows time for the fat in and around the skin to properly render and baste the meat during cooking.
The lid helps retain heat within the pan and generate steam during cooking. This heat/steam will allow you to cook the chicken more quickly, efficiently and evenly. However, it’s important you don’t turn your chicken skin side up with the lid still on as the steam generated will make your skin soggy.
It’s important you don’t really cook your tomatoes and olives, so that they retain their freshness and taste. What you’re looking for is a quick vinaigrette between the pan juices and red wine vinegar, that you’ll than toss with your tomatoes and olives to make a mock salad as garnish.
This is a quick and simple chicken dish, that really emphasizes technique in fully utilizing simple ingredients to prepare a delicious dish.
250g King Oyster Mushrooms (Cleaned, Trimmed, Cut in Half and lightly scored)
2tbsp Tomato Paste
2 Roma Tomatoes (skinned, de-seeded, and diced)
2 shallots, very finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove (finely diced)
2 Sprigs Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
1 star anise
1 Bunch Parsley (washed and roughly chopped)
Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat until very hot. Add 1tbsp olive oil to the pan and sauté the diced tomatoes for 1min. When done, remove and set aside. Repeat this process with the king oyster mushrooms, season the mushrooms with salt and sauté until golden brown all over (approximately 4-5mins). When done, remove and set aside.
In the same sauté pan used for cooking the tomatoes and mushrooms, add a little more oil and cook your chicken breasts skin side down under medium low heat. Cook the chicken breasts skin side down for approximately 5-6mins, and about 2/3 of the way cooked through. Remove your breasts and set aside.
Add your shallots and garlic to the pan and cook until lightly brown and translucent. Add your tomato paste and cook for 1-2min, to remove some of the acidity. Add your bay leaves, star anise and thyme, and deglaze the pan with white wine. Turn up the heat to high and reduce your white wine till syrupy. Add your chicken stock and passata and bring to a boil.
When the mixture comes to a boil, return your chicken breasts back to the pan and reduce the heat down to low and gently simmer/poach your chicken breasts until down (internal temperature 165ºF). When done, remove and set aside your chicken.
Pass your sauce through a strainer.
Place a generous amount of sauce at the bottom of your dish/plate. Add your chicken, mushrooms, and garnish with your diced tomatoes and chopped parsley.
This is a simple, hearty and delicious chicken and mushroom recipe that’s great for either weekday or weekend dinner.
If possible, try to find passata (tomato sauce) from San Marzano tomatoes. Their much more flavourful and sweeter than regular tomatoes, and will give your dish a lot more character and depth.
It’s important you don’t overcook your chicken, as you’re cooking chicken breasts which is quite lean and unforgiving unfortunately.
Depending on the size and shape of your sauté pan, you may or may not need to add a little more liquid (chicken stock and passata) to your pan in order to properly cook/poach your chicken. You basically want enough liquid to come into contact with the bottom 1/3 of the chicken breasts, so that the chicken cooks efficiently but not so much liquid that it floods and completely submerges the chicken making the skin limp and soggy.
It’s optional whether or not you wish to strain the sauce at the end. I simply did it to make it a little more elegant. Having a few bits of garlic, thyme and shallots won’t harm the dish at all.
I lightly scored the surface of the mushrooms not for the sake of presentation but to help the mushrooms cook quicker and more evenly by allowing the heat to better penetrate the center through the cut surface. Also the scored surface will help the salt cling onto the surface of the mushrooms better through the groves.
Traditionally button mushrooms are used for this dish, I simply used king oyster mushrooms as I find them a bit more robust and flavourful than regular mushrooms. You could of course substitute the king oyster mushrooms with another variety of mushrooms.
15 Kalamata Olives (segmented into 3 and cut into cheeks)
1 Lemon (Zest peeled into rough strips, and juiced)
100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Sprigs of Thyme
Small Bunch Basil
Small Bunch Parsley
Lightly season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper, thyme sprigs and a little bit of olive oil and let sit for 4-6hrs. Before cooking, remove the tuna steaks from the fridge 1hr to allow it to come to room temperature.
Place your lemon zest in a small pot with the olive oil, bring it up to a gentle simmer and turn off the heat. Let it sit and gently poach for 25mins. Remove the lemon zest and reserve the olive oil.
Add 2tbsp lemon juice, with the lemon scented olive oil, along with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly toss the basil, tomatoes and olives in the vinaigrette.
Heat a non stick frying pan on high heat until piping hot. Remove your thyme spigs and place your tuna steaks onto the pan and cook for 1-3mins each side. The exterior should be golden brown and the inside very rare.
Cut your tuna into large wedges and place in the center of your place. Arrange your tomatoes, olives and basil over and around the tuna. Spoon a little of the lemon scented vinaigrette over the tuna and garnish with the poached lemon peel, and parsley.
When buying tuna, the size and shape can be variable depending on the section of the loin it was cut from. Try to aim for thicker cuts as they won’t overcook as easily as thinner ones.
Tuna is very lean and unforgiving when it’s overcooked. It becomes dry, flaky and unpalatable, so try not to overcook it and keep it rare.
The cooking time for your tuna is listed here as variable (between 1-3mins each side), in order to help compensate for the how thick your portion of tuna might be. So if you have a very thin steak, you’d probably only need a hard sear for a min each side, versus a very thick steak which may need a full 3mins each side to help compensate for this discrepancy in size and shape.
When you’re segmenting the olives, stand the olives up and cut around the pit into 3 equal size cheeks. A tip is to visualize a triangle in the center of the olive as it’s standing upright, and cutting around the triangle to avoid the pit.
Keep in mind the olives can be quite salty, which may throw off the balance of the dish. So when you’re making your vinaigrette, lightly season it with salt and pepper. When you dress your tomatoes, olives and basil, try some and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
This is a very simple and delicious dish, but because it’s so simple it relies heavily on good ingredients to truly make it shine. So try buying the best quality tuna, olive oil and tomatoes you can afford to assemble this dish. It’ll pay off in the end.
This is a great dish, particularly during the summer when both the tomatoes and basil are in season and full of flavour.