FOOD + DRINK, RECIPES + menus | April 4, 2007

My Chicken Breasts with Kalamata and Tomato Tapenade Recipe

Kalamata and tomato tapenade chicken breasts, version Kiki

A couple weeks ago, I bought a wonderful Black olive flavored Fleur de sel (which translates to “Flower of salt”, also known as “flor de sal” in Portugal and Spain).

I bought Flor De Sal De’s Trenc, an absolutely delicious brand from Spain that is available in Canada and the Unites States.

I did not have time to use it. Feeling guilty, I created a recipe that captures the essence of that ingredient. Fleur de sel are highly valued salt crystals. I started by asking myself what can taste good with a Black olive flavored Fleur de sel?

Flor De Sal De\'s Trenc, black olives

What I learn through my years of cooking is that your best bet is to use flavors that complement each other. I began with some Kalamata olives that my husband just bought. But I cannot add fleur de sel to olives, it will too salty. So I look for a food that needs salt. Here come the tomatoes.

I want the olives to be the main flavor of the dish. I opt for the mild taste of chicken breasts. I was looking for something easy to find fresh at the supermarket on a Sunday night. If you love to eat fish, I suggest a cod with this recipe. That is how this new type of tapenade came to my mind.

Wikipedia defines a tapenade like this

Tapenade is Provencal dish consisting of pureed or finely chopped black olives, capers, anchovies, and olive oil. It may also contain garlic, herbs, tuna, lemon juice, or brandy. Its name comes from the Provencal word for capers, tapéno.

Since I want to add salt, capers and anchovies were out of the question. Instead of the lemon juice, I decided to use the zest which adds a lot more flavors. I reserve the lemon juice for my vinaigrette.

I love to mix textures because it stimulates your mouth. The condiments and accompanying food have to be fresh vegetables. Their crispness will nicely play against the texture of the chicken topped with the tapenade. That is how I come up with this healthy meal.

My Recipe of Chicken breasts with Kalamata and tomato tapenade

Ingredients for 2 persons
To feed more people, just multiply the quantities per pair of guests.

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 10 Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 tomato, cup in large pieces
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, the kind you got on hand
  • Fine zest of a lemon
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven at 390° F (420° F if you got a gas oven – that is what I use)

Kalamata and tomato tapenade

Put the pitted olives, tomato, zest and freshly ground pepper in a food processor and puree it. Reserve. The mixture can be more and less liquid depending on the tomato.

Put the chicken breasts in a square or rectangular oven dish. Sprinkle some Black olive flavored Fleur de sel over the chicken. Spread the tapenade to cover the top of the chicken breasts. Pour the liquid part, if any, of the tapenade in the dish. I like to think that it creates a juicer chicken.

Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cook through.

Serve the Kalamata and tomato tapenade chicken breasts with a watercress and baby curly endive salad. To do the presentation, place 4 tomato slices two by two on the middle of a dinner plate and insert fresh basil leafs between the tomatoes. Sprinkle some black olive fleur de sel or ordinary sea salt on the tomatoes. Prepare the salad (see below) and lay down a one inch thick layer of salad with a little touch of vinaigrette. A chicken breast topped with tapenade goes on top.

Vinaigrette

  • 1 teaspoon of old-fashioned mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
  • 1 pinch of black olive fleur de sel
  • 4 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

spiral whisk

I prefer in this recipe the old-fashioned mustard to the Dijon mustard because it has less vinegar. To prepare the vinaigrette, put the mustard, white vinegar and the salt in a small mixing bowl. Mix it together with a whisk. I usually use a spiral whisk. Slowly add 1 spoon at a table the olive oil and mix well. Repeat three times for the remaining olive oil. Put the freshly pressed lemon juice and mix again. Put the pepper and the sugar. Mix a last time. The vinaigrette is ready. It seems a lot of step for simple vinaigrette recipe but you can do it very quickly.

Pour the vinaigrette over half a watercress bunch and half a baby curly endive head. Watercress is a peppery green that is great in salads. I prefer the baby curly endive because each leaf is a mix of light green and white. The overall taste is less butter than regular sized curly endive.

Serve the rest of the salad in salad bowl. Enjoy with an Australian white wine – we drank Wyndham Estate’s Bin 222. Make it and tell me what you think.

+ Web site of the producer of Flor De Sal De’s Trenc

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