Now, my people know that I’m a pastry chef by trade, and although I love what I do, nobody else is going to cook my dinner (sad panda face). So yes, I do in fact cook savoury food, however my pastry background usually compels me to combine very different ingredients to create bold (and often wacky) flavour profiles. I especially love the chemistry between fiery peppers and fragrant fruits, or earthy nuts and sweet syrups.
I need nutritive food that can power long days on my feet, cooking. At night, I’m usually in the mood for a lean dinner that can fuel tissue growth and repair without inducing a food coma or weighing me down the next morning, i.e. chicken breast.
One of my go-to recipes is a honey glazed citrus habanero chicken breast, and today I’ve paired it with an avocado, sundried tomato and peanut pesto and sweet potato chips, and garnished with a desiccated slice of ruby red grapefruit.
The best part of this recipe is how easy it is to make, you’ll just need a bit of time to let the chips dry up in the oven!
For the chicken:
2 chicken breasts
Juice and zest from half an orange, lemon and grapefruit
½ white or yellow onion, diced.
3-4 habaneros (ata rodo or scotch bonnet peppers), rough chopped
½ – 1tsp. salt
A dash of regular (or smoked) paprika
For the pesto:
½ cup, peanuts
1tbsp. chopped cilantro
½ tsp. regular (or smoked) paprika
1tbsp. chopped sundried tomatoes
1tbsp. mustard (or 2tbsp. Provençale mustard)
Salt to taste, water to adjust the consistency
For the chips and garnish:
1x fairly large sweet potato, sliced very thinly
½ grapefruit, sliced very thinly
Icing sugar, salt, paprika
Cut two or three very thin grapefruit slices and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, dust lightly with icing sugar.
Cut the sweet potato in the same way and place on another paper-lined tray, sprinkle generously with salt and paprika.
Bake these two in the oven for 2 hours at a very low 80 degrees Celsius. Remove them and flip each individual chip, then bake for another 1-2 hours until dry. (the grapefruit garnish can be done at a different time and stored; the sweet potato chips can also be deep fried for more flavour, albeit less healthy)
Rinse and place the chicken breasts in a bowl, add the chopped onion, habaneros, citrus zests and juices. DO NOT ADD SALT YET! Mix and cover, marinade at room temperature for at least an hour (or overnight in the fridge for maximum flavour infusion).
Combine the pesto ingredients (except for the avocado) in a blender and use the pulse function, adjusting with water until the desired consistency is reached. Mash the avocado with a spoon and stir it up the other blended ingredients like Bob Marley.
Turn the oven on to 210 Celsius. Place an oven-ready frying pan on the stove to high with a drizzle of olive oil and allow to heat up. Sear the chicken breasts on either side for about 3-5 minutes, adding the salt and paprika to taste. Glaze the topsides with honey and place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until ready.
These elements sure make for a pretty plate, and it’s a great recipe to woo your wife/husband or bf/gf with on a Saturday night.
Get creative, change it up, be bold, and c’mon, live a little!
Until next time ladies and gents, remember to cook with class and serve with style!