Sutton Hoo Chicken Escalope; New Season English Asparagus Salad
Portion/Yield:Serves 2 as a main course
I am particularly passionate about only using happy, free-range chickens, and so here at the British Larder we have joined the Freedom Food’s Simply Ask Restaurant scheme. The reason for this is that we want all our customers to know that we are true to our word and that we only use ethically-reared produce. We proudly only buy free-range eggs and chicken and Freedom Foods-approved pork and salmon.
As we are located in Suffolk, we buy Sutton Hoo chickens. This is a family-run business owned by the Nash Family and they produce the best and tastiest chickens in Suffolk. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, free-range chickens have a slightly coarser and flakier, almost stringy texture (might not sound appetising, but this is real chicken!), but sadly our palates have been primed to like woolly and sometimes pappy-textured chicken. If you buy organic or free-range chickens, expect your chicken to have a natural texture and not a mass-manufactured texture you so often find with many of the chickens sold in supermarkets. I would encourage you to buy organic or free-range chicken from reputable sources and also to support local butchers when you can, as it’s good for the local economy, good for the end user and good from an ethics point of view.
This recipe uses some fantastic new-season ingredients, such as new potatoes, fresh asparagus and oregano from my garden… well, technically the oregano is from Lin’s allotment (Lin is a customer and friend of ours), but she gave me a large chunk of her plant that was slightly overgrown, so we then transferred it to my kitchen garden where it grows happily.
This recipe is easy to prepare and super quick too, if you are organised. You can even prepare the chicken a day in advance, let it rest in the fridge overnight, and then cook it the following day, if you like.
Ingredients & Method
- 2 organic or free-range skinless, boneless chicken breasts (Sutton Hoo chicken or from a reputable source in your region)
- 120–150g each 50g coarse fresh breadcrumbs or Panko Honey Breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 30g Hawkstone cheese (Suffolk hard cows’ milk cheese), grated, or finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- a bunch of asparagus (200–250g), trimmed
- 125g fresh (or frozen) broad beans (shelled weight)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2–3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- 6 cooked cold new potatoes, halved
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- a bunch of watercress, washed and drained, to garnish
Butterfly the chicken breasts. To do this, place each breast flat on a chopping board. Place one hand on top of a breast to hold it in place and then with the other hand, carefully insert a sharp knife through the thickest part of the breast and slice it horizontally in half without cutting all the way through (stop cutting about three-quarters of the way through). Open out the breast so that it looks like a butterfly or open book. Repeat with the second breast. Place each butterflied chicken breast in a small polythene food bag and use a mallet or rolling pin to flatten the breast slightly.
For the breadcrumb mixture, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, grated cheese and cayenne pepper in a bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Blanch the asparagus and broad beans together in a large pan of boiling salted water for 11/2–2 minutes or until the asparagus is al dente. Drain, refresh in iced water and drain again. Set the asparagus aside. Pop the tender, bright green broad beans out of their outer grey skins by squeezing gently. Discard the outer grey skins and reserve the inner bright green beans. Set aside. Heat the butter and olive oil in a small saucepan until the butter has melted, then add the garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Dip each chicken escalope into the melted butter mixture, then roll it in the breadcrumb mixture to coat it all over. Use your hands to press the crumbs on firmly.
Heat 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil in a non-stick frying pan and pan-fry the coated chicken escalopes over a medium heat for 12–15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked and golden brown all over, turning them regularly and adding another 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil to the pan partway through cooking, if needed. Drain the chicken escalopes on kitchen paper.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil in a separate non-stick frying pan and sauté the new potatoes for 7–8 minutes or until golden. Add the blanched asparagus and reserved peeled broad beans and cook for a further 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
Serve the hot chicken escalopes with the warm potato salad and garnish with the watercress.