Monday, 4 June 2012

A Pollo Rising!

Pollo alla Siciliana, con Pepe, Pomodori, Olive e Caperi
Sicilian Chicken with Peppers, Tomatoes, Olives & Capers

Time for a something more Mediterranean this evening and a super-tasty dish of typically Sicilian vegetables to go with this succulent chicken breast! What more could you want to remind you of the way it ought to be in June-brrr! So in an effort to ignore the grey German day today, I decide to create a little Sicilian sunshine...

These really are classic flavors, but traditions can be kept and re-invented time and time again if you ask me! This is the taste of the Mediterranean... fruity, tangy, fresh and vibrant... Do you feel like taking a trip with me? Then come on!

The best thing about this dish... (and come to think of it- almost every dish I ever make!), is that it is SO quick and easy! I used a handful of that wonderful, wild green asparagus, a couple of pointy red peppers, a handful of cherry tomatoes, a few olives and capers, some basil, parsley and spring onion... and transformed it into this!

But first things first... that lovely, juicy chicken breast! I sautéed it briefly, for 3-4 minutes on each side, in a little olive oil, with a crushed clove of garlic, some finely chopped rosemary, a little sea salt and some pepper. I wanted to keep it simple and for each of the ingredients in this dish to take their turn on centre stage, rather than for it to simply blend together... we can save those kinds of dishes for the Winter!

Once the chicken is slightly browned, but you can see that it is still a little pink in the thicker part, wrap it in foil, set it to one side and start preparing the vegetables. It is going to finish cooking in the oven... but it will continue "cooking" in the foil from the temperature it has developed in the pan and will need only a short time later on to become golden brown and still remain juicy.

Definitely do not rinse that frying pan- but at this point add the peppers and the thicker part of the asparagus stalks. Sautée these for 5-6 minutes and add a little salt, pepper and sugar so that they develop a lovely flavor. If the frying pan looks dry, add a drop of water at this point rather than oil, so that they steam a little and become softer. Push them to one side and add the asparagus tips... but remove them after 2-3 minutes, so that they do not become to soft.

So... now it is time to add the spring onions, a little more chopped garlic, the cherry tomatoes, olives and capers. Season with chopped basil, plenty of parsley, salt, pepper, a little lemon juice and a little sugar. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then add a little olive oil and stir well.

Pour the lightly stewed vegetable mix into an oven dish and lay the chicken on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350° F in a pre-heated oven for around 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the foil and add a light drizzle of honey over everything... but don't overdo it! Now pop it back into the oven for 2-3 minutes under the broiler until everything is toasty and golden brown... delicious!

Add a little lemon zest as a finishing touch and enjoy with a slice or two of ciabatta and a glass of Corvo... and pretend you are in sunny Sicily rather than rainy Germany- sigh! At least that is what I did this evening! But what ever you do... say "buon apetito" to each other and raise your glasses! Enjoy!


  1. Beautiful photos. That looks so fresh and delicious! Well done!

  2. I aim to please ;-) Thank you!

  3. This looks fabulous! But I'm a leg man --would that work, too?

  4. Hi Frank! Sure- the leg would work just as well of course and may even be better (juicier), you would just need to reduce the cooking time on the vegetables accordingly to accommodate for the longer time the meat would take and let them finish cooking in the oven. At the same time, they would probably end up tasting better because they would cook in the meat juices... hey! You probably just improved my recipe! ;-) hope you enjoy it! Best wishes from Francesco.