crispy garlic chicken

this isn’t a particularly elegant looking dish but it was very delicious. the heart of it is nigel’s slater’s recipe for garlic-crumbed chicken which is inspired by a chicken kiev but adds cheese and bacon, whilst removing the risk factor that comes with needing to create a sealed pocket for all the garlic butter goodness. it’s also a great way of really packing flavour around chicken breasts, which can sometimes be a bit dull.

skinless chicken breasts are slashed and then stuffed with cheese that has been rolled in chopped parsley (the recipe calls for taleggio but i used mozzarella as that was what needed using up) then topped with a mix of breadcrumbs, garlic and pancetta that have been fried in butter, before baking through.

the end result is both fresh (from the parsley, which really does retain its flavour) and savoury (the garlic and bacon flavours really stand out) whilst also being fairly forgiving – assembling the dish is quick and easy and the topping of breadcrumbs hides any messiness in your preparation. i also think it would be a good standby option if you make a bigger batch of the fried breadcrumbs which could then be used from frozen. the other thing i’d think about for next time is adding some chopped rosemary to the breadcrumb mix.

we ate this with some tagliatelle which was tossed with mushrooms that had been sautéed in a little butter and then finished with some double cream and extra parsley. the contrast of the crispy breadcrumbs with the creamy pasta was particularly nice.

nigel slater’s garlic crumbed chicken (serves 2)

2 chicken breasts, skin removed

20g parsley, finely chopped

150g taleggio cheese, cut into strips (i used mozzarella)

75g butter

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped

two handfuls breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

preheat the oven to 180c. score the chicken breasts four times, diagonally across the top to within 2cm/¾in of the bottom. finely chop the parsley and cut the taleggio into strips. roll the taleggio in the parsley and then stuff the cheese into the scored gaps in the chicken breasts.

melt the butter in a frying pan. add the chopped garlic and bacon to the pan and cook for three minutes. add the breadcrumbs to the pan and cook for a further three minutes. pour the olive oil over the chicken (i didn’t bother with this) and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. scatter the breadcrumb mix over the chicken breasts, patting them down lightly. bake in the oven for 30 minutes.