(recipe serves 4)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used organic)
4 t salt (for brine)
For quick brine:
In a mixing bowl, dissolve salt in enough water to completely cover the breasts. I used a whisk to make sure the salt was completely dissolved. Add a couple of handfuls of ice to the water. Rinse breasts and place them in the ice bath and refrigerate for 2 hours or so. Remove breasts and rinse again. Pat dry with paper towels. Place an oven proof skillet on the stove top and preheat over medium high heat. Add 2 T of olive oil. It should smoke slightly and travel easily on the bottom of the pan. Season chicken with a generous amount of salt and cracked pepper. It is important not to season until you are ready to place the chicken in the pan. Place breasts top side down. You want a good sizzle. Also, you don’t want to crowd the skillet. Cook in batches. If oil is splattering too much, cut heat down a bit. DON’T MOVE CHICKEN. You want to leave the chicken alone until it has cooked about halfway to two-thirds through. Then, you can peak. If the crust is brown enough, turn it over and cook for a few more minutes. Once all breasts are browned, place them in a preheated 425 degree oven for 5-8 minutes to finish cooking. The thickest part of the breast will feel just firm to the touch. Remove and allow chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
For roasted veggie tapenade:
1 small yellow onion, cut chunky style
6 mini sweet peppers, cut into large rings
1 pint of cherub tomatoes
Garlic oil and cloves (place 6-8 whole cloves into a small sauce pan, cover with olive oil and simmer until garlic is softened and golden)
Salt and cracked pepper
6-8 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 T of capers, drained
Place veggies in a bowl. Drizzle garlic oil over the veggies and stir to coat. Place veggies on a foil-lined baking sheet. Generously season with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Place into a preheated 450 degree oven, roast for 12 minutes or so. Shake baking sheet to move veggies around and then rotate pan. Cook for an additional 12 minutes or until edges begin to char slightly. Remove and cool. Place veggies back into a bowl. Add garlic cloves, olives and capers. Additional garlic oil can be added to moisten and flavor.