A week ago I was surprised to find out that the local grocery carried chicken breast fillets. I know, it's supposed to be like, a staple in the meat section but Zamboanga (where I live) is at the most, 5 years behind every city when it comes to things like malls and...chicken breasts. Case in point: the local grocery CARRIED breast fillets, BUT they don't bring it outside for display.
So it's been a week and the fillets have been resting in the freezer since I have no idea what to do with them. I wanted to make chicken galantina, but I remembered something: we don't have a proper oven! What do I do with chicken breasts that doesn't involve stuffing it with bacon, holding it with butcher's twine (not that we have it here), and baking it?
Then I remembered that although the grocery hides its chicken breasts from the world, they do put pesto on display. Thanks to Yummy.ph I found a recipe for pasta that only needed noodles, chicken and pesto.
I was halfway through mixing my chicken with the marinade ingredients when I realized I didn't have the time and the energy to cook pasta, so thinking on my feet, I decided that the chicken would be a stand alone dish.
The modification seems easy enough, since I really didn't have to alter the whole recipe. I just did away with the pasta part. I was pretty nervous mixing the marinade ingredients, since it's my first time to work with pesto and without a recipe, I just relied on gut feel to flavor my chicken with salt and pepper.
It really didn't take long for the chicken to cook, and I was lucky enough to avoid any cooking mishaps, like the chicken burning or turning out raw.
So I cut the first piece of meat that was done and saw the juices running clear: a good sign and a pat on the back for me! I grabbed a fork and impaled a small piece. I put it in my mouth. It was still hot, so a little back and forth motion with my tongue. When I got to really taste it, I was impressed! I never thought the chicken would taste like my favorite chicken my mom used to bring home from Manila.
The pesto really came through for me. It gave the chicken the fresh, sweet slightly nutty and aromatic tang that only basil could deliver. Pesto is my friend now. I was relieved that rubbing the fillet with salt and pepper and other spices did their trick as well.
I'm not sure if they (family members who subsist on regular food. lol) would appreciate it since the flavor is definitely not in our run-of-the-mill dinner. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's snooty. Maybe they just need to appreciate gourmet dishes more. Which I don't think they will but it's a work in progress!
I know, I still have to work on my food styling. But at least it's a start. I have Jaden's Steamy Kitchen to thank for the inspiration.
Chicken with Pesto
serves 3 - 5
1 kg chicken breast fillets, cleaned
salt and pepper to taste
1 - 2 tbsp bottled pesto (I have no idea how this dish would fare with freshly made pesto so don't ask!!!)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp anise seeds
2 tsp rosemary
1 - 2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1. Clean the chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Rub the chicken with salt and pepper until thoroughly distributed
3. In a bowl, mix the remaining ingredients to form a paste.
4. Add the chicken and evenly mix and coat with the pesto paste.
5. Let the chicken and pesto rest for at least 30 minutes
6. Heat olive oil or corn oil in a nonstick pan before adding the chicken.
7. Once the pan is heated enough, add the chicken skin side down. Do not overcrowd the pan.
8. Cook each side on medium heat until golden brown, with slight charring (this is normal since the chicken is coated with basil).
9. Test if the meat is cooked thoroughly by slicing a piece in half and the juices run clear.
10. Serve with rice and or pasta.(I ate it without rice though. still tasted great)