Seared Chicken with Olive Salsa Verde
Ever wonder how to sear a perfectly cooked chicken breast? We've broken it down, and made it super simple. The olive salsa verde is incredibly versatile and can be used with fish, red meat and even shellbeans.
- 4 skin-on organic chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil, for high heat
- sea salt
- black pepper
- 1 cup castelvetrano olives, pitted & roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, stemmed & chopped
- zest & juice of half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgen olive oil
Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, and season both sides with salt and pepper, to taste. Let come to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the meantime, in a small bowl combine olives, parsely, thyme, lemon zest & juice and a few grinds of black pepper with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Taste, and season with salt, if needed.
Once oven is heated, pat chicken skin dry one more time (this helps get it nice and crispy!). Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or heavy weight stainless pan over medium heat. Once it's hot, add 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil. Add chicken breasts to pan, skin side down. Make sure to lay breast down starting near you, going away from you, to avoid getting splattered by oil. Skin should spatter and sizzle right away. Turn heat down to medium and let cook for about 5 minutes.
Take a peek, and if skin is deep golden brown and crispy, flip breasts. (If it's still blonde, let skinside cook for another 2 minutes before flipping). Move pan to the oven for 12-14 minutes, until chicken is cooked through (registers 160 degrees on an instaread thermometer).
Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice on a bias and spoon olive salsa over top.
The quality and type of olives is key. We love Castelvetranos in this recipe for their sweet, meaty texture and bright green color. Danielle, at Pastaio Via Corta in downtown Gloucester has the best, but Whole Foods also carries them.
Tools & Tips
If your chicken breasts are really thick in one part, gently pound that portion with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. The more even the breast is in thickness, the less likely the thinner part will over-cook.