Jane-Anne Hobbs is a food writer de luxe. Recipe developer and photographer, she has written a stunning cookbook Scrumptious, click here to read my review. Always on the look out for low carb dishes, she has latterly come up with some stunners, and this is one of them.
CLICK HERE to go to her website.
For the sauce:
3 red peppers [capsicums or bell peppers]
1 large white onion, peeled
250 g cherry tomatoes
30 g blanched, skinned hazelnuts
30 g slivered almonds
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped or grated
a pinch or two of dried chilli flakes, or more, to taste
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little extra
2 tsp (10 ml) sherry vinegar (or red-wine or balsamic vinegar)
1 tsp (5 ml) sweet paprika
salt and milled black pepper
a squeeze of lemon juice
For the chicken:
6 skinless, deboned chicken breasts
1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter
salt & milled black pepper
a squeeze of lemon juice
baby salad leaves
Heat the oven to 200 °C, fan on, or 210 °C if your oven has no fan.
Lightly oil a large baking tray. Remove the stalks and seeds from the red peppers and cut into big wedges. Cut the onion lengthways into thick slices, and slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer in the baking tray, and rub a little olive oil over the onion slices. Season lightly with salt and roast in a hot oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the veggies are very soft and have blackened edges here and there. Watch them closely so they don’t scorch or stick.
While the vegetables are roasting, put the hazelnuts and almonds into a dry frying pan, set over a medium-low heat and cook, tossing frequently, until they are golden brown and lightly toasted. Don’t take your eye off them for a moment – they burn in an instant. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan, along with three-quarters of the peeled, crushed garlic. Cook gently, over a low heat, for another 60 seconds, without letting the garlic brown. The idea here is to take the sting out of the garlic. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Scrape all the roasted vegetables into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the chilli flakes, the nut/garlic mixture, 2 Tbsp olive oil, the reserved garlic, the vinegar and the paprika. Whizz to a fairly coarse purée – or to a fine paste if that’s what you prefer – stopping now and then to scrape down the sides. If the blades are reluctant to turn, add a little more olive oil.
Season to taste with salt and milled black pepper. Add a spritz of lemon juice – just enough to ‘lift’ the sauce. Use a spatula to scrape the sauce into a bowl. Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To prepare the chicken: Place a chicken breast between two sheets of clingfilm or sturdy greaseproof paper and use a rolling pin (or a wine bottle) gently to bash it out and flatten it so it’s of a fairly even thinness all over. The trick here is to start in the middle and work outwards, using gentle thumps that won’t shred the chicken or make holes in it. Repeat with the remaining breasts.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the breasts, over a medium-high heat, for about two minutes on each side, or until just cooked through. (If you’re not certain they’re cooked, cut a slit on the underside of the thickest part of the biggest breast. If it’s still pink inside, cook the breasts for another minute or so.)
Turn down the heat, add the butter and a squeeze of lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for another minute, basting the breasts with the butter & lemon juice. Remove from the pan, rest for a minute, then serve hot with the Romesco sauce, lemon wedges and baby salad leaves.
Michael’s wine recommendation – click here.