or, flamingweasel finds a use for that chicken breast in his freezer, and the garlic and olive oil in his cupboard.
I came back from the store, threw the ice cream in the freezer, and there it was. A chicken breast from a while back, probably getting freezer burn as I watched it. Daring me to do something more interesting to it than what I did to its mate last week. I thought back to last weekend, which was spent with a kick ass cook, where I wished I could pull leftovers out of my fridge that tasted as good as the ones that came out of hers did. I thought back to reading some of sensei's recipes, wishing I could just create like he seems to.
And so, I pulled it out of the freezer and started improvising.
What I ended up with was a tasty chicken breast with chunks of what tasted like baked garlic all over it. Surprisingly good for being the first thing that came into my head.
- Chicken Breast, thawed out and ready for cookin'. Use the number of chicken breasts you're doing as a multiplier for the following ingredients.
- One Clove of Garlic
- A Couple Tablespoons of Olive Oil
- Some sort of tasty herb, like rosemary, basil...use your imagination. What? You're a newbie cook like me? Stick with rosemary. Very tasty stuff.
- Salt, Pepper, and whatever feels like it ought to go in the marinade.
- First, get your ingredients ready. If your chicken is frozen, you can put it in a pan of water to thaw it out if you're going to cook it immediately. If you were going to plan ahead, you'd stick the breast(s) in the refrigerator in the morning before the day started, then when you came back for dinner it'd (they'd) be thawed. Acquire a flat container with a rim around it. I used one of those 6 by 13 inch ceramic baking pans, but I suppose a soup bowl would probably work okay.
- Put some olive oil in the pan. You want a generous amount, enough to coat the bottom of the pan, a little to spread over the top of the chicken breast, and a little extra (like, a tablespoon or two per breast) for the cooking of the chicken.
- Chop the garlic. You want decent sized chunks -- you are not mincing it. Try getting about two or three times the size of the normal minced chunk of garlic. Ready the herb you chose -- rosemary you can just strip the leaves off the branch, anything else probably needs a little chopping to increase the surface area a bit.
- Toss the garlic & herbs in there. Add a little salt (note: upon rereading some of sensei's marinating tips, salt at this point will dry the meat out a bit, depending on how long you marinate; I didn't have a problem, but I only marinated for about a half hour) and pepper, and anything else in the cupboard that looks right. Mix everything around a bit with a fork to get the flavas percolatin'.
- Put the chicken in the mixture. Flip it over, spread the oil and herbs and garlic around the chicken with your hands...Whatever feels right. What you want is the tastes to uniformly soak into the chicken, because that's what makes it tasty.
- Go read for a bit. Listen to some marinating music. Have a tasty beverage. You want to let the tastes mix for a while. I did it for 30 minutes, and it seemed to work out okay. Longer might work, shorter might, I really don't know.
- Get a skillet warmed up on the stove. Medium heat is good -- you want to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through (salmonella bad!) without searing it too bad.
- Transfer the breast(s) from the pan onto a plate (or just hold them to the pan), and pour a tablespoon or two of the marinade into the skillet. It ought to begin to be fragrant quickly, but not be spitting too aggressively. Lay the chicken in the skillet. If it starts spitting oil really agressively, turn the heat down. If it doesn't spit at all, turn it up a bit. Once you've got everything settled on the heat front, cover the skillet up. (if you don't have a cover for a pot that works, aluminum foil might be a good substitute)
- Sit back and read a little more. Check the chicken every few minutes. If there's any bits of garlic that are getting charred, you'll have to pick them out with a spoon. Cooked garlic tastes good, but burnt garlic is a terrible thing. Cut the chunks larger next time.
- When one side gets slightly brown, flip it over. It took about 5 minutes before the first flip for mine, but it depends on your specific temperature, thickness of chicken, and the price of wheat in Russia.
When both sides are a little browned, it's ready. Serve with some sort of veggie
, and you're good to go.