And this was the main course for Saturday dinner. Both recipes from the same Gino D’Acampo cook book. I made a bit of wasabi mash to accompany the two dishes. The chicken in Martini sauce is tasty and easy, and not something I’d ever have thought of of my own accord. Lighting the Martini and burning off the alcohol is always a slightly hair raising proposition and I always have a frying pan lid on standby, just in case! The salad is tasty too – the sharp flavour of the mint combines nicely with the creamy tartness of the feta cheese.
For the chicken
2 skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons of plain flour
60g of salted butter, plus an extra knob
150ml Martini Bianco (sweet) (I used an own-brand dry vermouth which worked well.)
Salt and black pepper
Place the chicken breasts on a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, cut each breast in half, horizontally. Lay some clingfilm on top and, using a meat mallet (or, as I did, a rolling pin!) to flatten the breasts to a thickness of about 5mm.
Scatter the flour over a plate, season with salt and black pepper and lightly coat each breast-half in flour.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently fry the chicken breasts in the butter. 3 minutes on one side and then 2 minutes on the other until cooked through and lightly golden.
Pour the Martini into the frying pan and, using a long match, light it! Carefully! Always a little scary!
Allow the alcohol to burn off and then cook for a further two minutes and season with salt.
Remove the breast pieces to the serving plates.
Add a knob of butter to the Martini sauce, stir to combine and heat through. Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts.
For the salad
175g of French beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 small garlic clove
9 fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
110g of feta cheese, crumbled (or a firm goat’s cheese will do just as well – slightly more tart)
2 tablespoons of pine nut kernels, toasted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the beans in salted water until al dente
Meanwhile, finely chop the garlic and mint together and place in a large bowl.
Pour in the lemon juice and olive oil and mix together until well combined.
Make sure that the beans are well drained and then add to the bowl with the dressing and stir well to combine, making sure that the beans are well coated in the dressing.
Toast the pine nut kernels in a dry frying pan until lightly golden.
Divide the salad between both plates and then sprinkle half the feta and half the pine nuts over each portion.