Sometimes I have a great plan for dinner; everything worked out in my head, and when it comes to execution for whatever reason it becomes an utter failure. The first time I made Indian food in our new apartment in Seattle (a recipe I've made countless times before) I misjudged the temperature of my pan and burned the roti. The fire alarm went off, scaring me and both the cats, and I used the only thing I could find nearby to help dissipate the smoke, the fleece sweatshirt I had been wearing. I'm sure you can picture it - maybe you've been there before; cats running amok, wild eyed and frantic, and me standing on tiptoes beating the smoke alarm with a fleece sweatshirt, worried I would be the reason the whole building would need to be evacuated; or worse, that our sprinkler system would turn on and ruin all of our belongings! Ryan and I laughed about it afterwards, but I've been wary of setting the smoke alarm. So far I've only set it off one other time...making toast...
Other times, a recipe come from simple necessity. We need to eat and these are the things I have on hand. This is exactly where this recipe was born and it was a success right from the start. I always have canned fire roasted tomatoes on hand; I think they are a far superior addition to chilis, stews, curries, etc. I had frozen chicken breasts thawing and olives left over from a charcuterie spread for a party. The mediterranean flavors worked well with each other; the heat of the tomatoes helping to cut the brininess of the olives.
Pan roasting chicken is made quicker and easier with thin cuts of meat that will cook evenly. Thick chicken breasts can take a long time to cook through, meaning some of the meat is overcooked and dry. For that very reason, I butterflied a large boneless chicken breast and placed it between plastic wrap, pounding it thin with a meat mallet. The chicken cutlets are dredged in flour and browned on both sides in olive oil in a hot skillet. When the chicken is browned, remove it from the pan and wrap it in foil.
To the same pan, add one diced onion and two cloves of minced garlic. Sauté until translucent. Add one cup of chopped olives and one can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (undrained). I used a mix of olives from the olive bar at our grocery store, but you can use any variety you like. I'd recommend black olives if you are unsure. If you have access to an olive bar, they are more likely to have better flavor than canned olives, just watch out that you remove any pits.
Bring the olives and tomatoes to a simmer and season with salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of minced fresh parsley. Wash and chop one large bunch of kale or other leafy green and add to the pan. Stir to combine and cook until just starting to wilt.
Add the chicken back in and simmer until cooked through. Garnish with additional fresh parsley to serve.
You can certainly adjust the seasoning in this recipe if you like, adding fresh basil, or thyme if you have it on hand. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice would be nice as well. I love olives and decided to let them carry the dish in this case. I had a really great mix of garlic and roasted red pepper stuffed olives and I didn't want to cover up those lovely flavors. Ryan does not like olives (not even in a martini!) and he enjoyed this dish. The composed bite of kale, chicken, olives, and tomatoes has a great balance that highlights the olive but doesn't let it completely take over.
Chicken with Olives and Fire Roasted TomatoesBy Land of Noms, January 9, 2015
- 1 large or two small chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of olives, roughly chopped
- 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, minced
- salt and pepper
- 1 bunch of kale or other leafy green, washed, ribs removed, and chopped
- Butterfly and pound chicken into thin cutlets, dredge in flour
- Heat olive oil in a large pan and brown chicken on both sides; remove from pan when browned and wrap in foil
- In the same pan, saute diced onion and garlic until translucent
- Add olives and tomatoes and bring to a simmer; season with salt and pepper and fresh parsley
- Stir in kale and cook until just starting to wilt; add chicken back to the pan and cook through, about 5 mintues
- Serve with additional fresh parsley to garnish
Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!