I'd thought I share my chicken breast 'method'
- Wendy Lai May 23, 2005 10:34 PM
I've been making chicken breast for what seems like forever. I pan fry/grill it for topping salads or sandwiches. I think I've peferected the methods so that they are never dry! :)
First if the chicken breast is really big and fat, I slice it width wise so they can cook evenly and fast.
Heat pan to high heat, plan the chicken breast down and only turn once, maybe about 2 minutes on each side. This part is something you have to figure out according to your stove's power. The trick I use is to cook the chicken only 90% done. Put the chicken on a plate and cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. After you are finished with all of them the 'steaming' of the chicken should cook the chicken through without drying it out.
Flavoring of the chicken is endless. Herb and lemon, teriaki, soy ginger and sesame, balsmic and evoo, etc. etc.
An alternative to slicing is to pound the boneless breasts thinner between two sheets of waxed paper. This too allows it to cook quicker, whether broiling or grilling. If I'm grilling or broiling, I would not want to finish the chicken by steaming it. Rather, I'll take it off the heat but leave it on the warming rack of the grill to stay warm and finish cooking. If I'm pan sauteing with a sauce to finish, then finishing by steaming works.
I cook mine exactly the same way (including cooking to 90% and putting a lid on) except I pound them to a similar thickness rather than cutting them.
I turn a large plastic bag inside out, put my hand "inside", pick up a breast, pull the bag back to outside-in so the breast is inside, pound it so it's even and whatever thickness i desire, then use a fork to plop it on a plate for seasoning. When I'm done pounding all of the breasts, I just discard the bag and don't have to worry about chicken goop all over my hands.
Since chicken breasts tend to taper from a thick end to the thin end, I've started almost butterflying the top of the chicken width-wise. I then lightly pound the breast once to twice to ensure it is flat. Then put oil into a skillet and turn the heat on high until the oil sheens or has wisps of smoke. Then about 2-3 minutes per side and the breast is perfectly cooked through, still moist, and has some nice crust on it.
A foolproof way to cook chicken breasts so that they don't dry out is to poach them. Cook them whole, bone in and skin on, at a simmer. The big ones take 20 minutes or so.
Lately I've been poaching them in water with some ginger and scallions. I take them right out of the water and dump them in an ice bath to cool. Then I pull off the skin and liberate the meat from the bone. I shred it and dress it with chili oil, soy sauce, Szechuan peppercorn, Chinese black vinegar, maybe some shredded ginger and scallion.
You can also poach the breasts in water with some wine and garlic, chill and strip the meat, and dress them with olive oil, marinara, chopped olives, garlic, whatever.
The possibilities are indeed endless.
the great Jacques Pepin has a similar method for supremes of chicken with herbes de provence -- my "go to" recipe for simple moist chicken in a hurry.
Paraphrasing -- Pound breasts and season liberally with salt, pepper and herbes de provence. Heat a TB of butter over medium-high in a non-stick pan until the foam subsides and add the chicken. Sear for 3 minutes per side, slap the lid on and remove from the heat. In 10 minutes, remove the chicken to a plate. Squeeze a lime into pan juices and swirl around. Slice the chicken on the bias, pour juice over and enjoy. I usually serve over a bed of arugula or other salad greens for a simple delicious dinner.
I brine them in seasoned water for 30 minutes in the fridge. The brine should taste fairly salty and should not be used on a breast that has been "enhanced by a solution". The salt water is pulled into the breast by capillary action. You may be pleased by the result! Enjoy