Some of you know that chicken breast is not my favourite choice of protein. Not only is it more expensive than other parts of the bird, it tends to lack flavour and juiciness. I prefer dark meat, if given the choice. Nevertheless, many of my friends and family love chicken breast and are either asking me to prepare it for them or to find ways to make it interesting. This recipe for Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Salsa Verde is just one of the ways I like to jazz-up the white meat. If you’re looking for other chicken breast recipes/ideas, I recommend my Grilled Chicken Greek Salad, Chicken Piccata or my Chicken with Mushroom and Tarragon Cream Sauce (all of which have become very popular recipes on the blog).
You can definitely substitute dark meat here but I actually think that the chicken breast pairs really nicely with the Salsa Verde. Speaking of, the salsa goes great on just about any type of grilled meat. Try it with lamb chops, different cuts of steak (like hangar, flank, or strip), or pork chops. I think the flavours in the salsa are a bit too strong for fish but if you want to try it with some grilled halibut, be my guest.
As far as cooking techniques go, you don’t have to pan-roast the breast. You can definitely grill it up over gas or charcoal. You could even break out the smoker! Catalina and I recently moved into a condo and though it does have some communal grills, they are booked days if not weeks in advance so I’ve been leaning towards indoor methods of cooking. I will say that pan-roasting chicken breast is a great technique for achieving perfectly cooked, juicy meat. This is best done with large or even bone-in chicken breasts. For thinner or butterflied cuts, you can get away with cooking the entire thing on the stovetop or grill, if you are cooking outdoors.
As always, the real secret to perfectly cooked meat is a great meat thermometer. I have the Lavatools Javelin, which is terrific given its low price point. They also have a Pro version but I’ve been perfectly happy with the entry-level model.
If pan-roasting, you will need a pan that is oven safe. I have always recommended Lodge Cast-Iron skillets. If you are new to cast-iron cooking or need some help with the dreaded seasoning/maintenance process, you can read my How-To Guide here.
If you are looking for enamelled cast-iron, which will give you similar results without all of the maintenance, I recommend these Staub skillets. They aren’t cheap but they are fantastic pieces of cookware.
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 anchovy filets packed in olive oil
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 Jalapeño finely chopped, seed removed (or left in)
- juice of one lemon
- 1 cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1/2lbs each) free-range, organic (sub bone-in, skin-on if desired - note: cooking times will be longer)
- 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
- kosher salt
- Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- Add anchovies, capers and garlic to a mortar and pestle (or food processor). Bash until a paste is formed. Add finely chopped parsley, basil, jalapeño, lemon juice and EVOO. Stir everything until well combined. Transfer to a jar, cover with lid and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Meanwhile, rinse and pat chicken dry with paper towel. Season both sides with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
- Heat a cast-iron or oven-safe, non-stick skillet over med-high heat. When the skillet is hot (approx. 5 min later), drizzle in avocado oil and gently lay chicken in skillet. Cook 6-7 min, or until golden brown, flip chicken and transfer skillet to preheated oven. Roast chicken an additional 12-15 min or until internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reads 160F on a digital thermometer.
- Remove chicken from oven and transfer to carving board. Let rest 5 min before carving. Serve with Salsa Verde.