Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Chicken Pizzaiola

Dave Winteridge
I am a restaurateur in the South of France but originally from Great Britain. I have spent around 30 years in the hospitality industry and over the past 12 years I have opened restaurants in Spain and France. I am a keen skier, living in the Pyrenees, and ideally for the future I would like to spend less time at the stove and more time at the keyboard.
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I saw Gino D’Acampo make a very simple version of chicken pizzaiola on his TV programme.  This is not his recipe – this is how I have made it.  The basic premise of pizzaiola is that it is the sauce you would use to make pizza, so I have included olives, anchovies and, of course, fresh basil. (Fresh oregano would be a great addition)

I have butterflied the chicken, leaving the wing-tip bone in, breaded it and served it on the sauce with a couple of slices of mozzarella and a basil leaf to finish off.  I like to serve this dish with either some nice fondant potatoes or some fresh spaghetti tossed in a little olive oil.

For 4 portions of sauce you will need;

  • 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • Tomato paste or tomato frito
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 – 3 small chillies chopped (optional)
  • handful green olives roughly chopped
  • 3 – 4 anchovy fillets roughly chopped
  • 25 g  butter or olive oil
  • 8 fresh basil leaves shredded

Start by sweating the onions, garlic & chillies in a pan with the butter over a medium heat.  After 3 minutes add the tin of tomatoes, olives and anchovies.  Bring the pan to a simmer and then reduce the heat so that the sauce is barely bubbling.  I like to stir in a little tomato paste or about 50 ml of pre-made tomato frito to help concentrate the flavours.  Allow the sauce to cook out for approx 20 minutes or until reduced to a nice sauce consistency and finish by stirring in the fresh basil.  You will notice that I have not seasoned the sauce – the anchovy will provide enough salt.

Chicken Pizzaiola

For 4 people you will need;

  • 4 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • flour
  • 1 egg
  • 50 ml milk
  • breadcrumbs
  • oil for frying or deep fat fryer
  • 1 ball mozzarella
  • Pre-heated oven at 200C

I usually butterfly the chicken but if you are not comfortable with this keep the breasts whole but bear in mind they may take slightly longer to cook.  To breadcrumb the chicken dip them in the flour followed by the egg mixed with the milk and, finally, into the breadcrumbs.  Coat them well at each stage.

If you have a deep fryer place the breaded chicken in and cook for 2 minutes until the breadcrumb has turned a golden colour.  If you do not have a fryer then put up to 1 cm of oil in the bottom of a pan and heat it (but not too hot).  Place the chicken carefully into the pan and cook on each side until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.  Now put your chicken in the oven and finish cooking for 12 – 15 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Serve on top of the sauce with a couple of nice slices of mozzarella melting over the top – delicious!

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