Cajun Seared Chicken

Care needs to be taken with this next recipe. This popular style of cooking, originally from Louisiana and now spread far and wide, entails heating a sturdy well-seasoned cast-iron griddle, or frying pan, to as high a heat as possible. A piece of fish or meat, which has been dipped in melted butter and a seasoning mixture, is then cooked by fast searing. More suited to the professional restaurant than the domestic kitchen though it may be, I include this recipe because good results can be obtained, either with a heavy frying pan or on the barbecue. Flat cuts, which cook evenly and relatively quickly, are best done over such fierce heat, so choose chicken breasts in preference to thighs and drumsticks.

You can make up your own seasoning mix, and store it in a jar in your spice cupboard. Many variations can be made on the theme.

Ingredients

  • 2 free-range or organic chicken breasts, off the bone, and with the skin and small fillet removed
  • 5 g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 3-4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
    • 50 g (2 oz) cayenne pepper
    • 25 g (1 oz) fine sea-salt
    • 25 g (1 oz) freshly ground black pepper
    • 25 g (1 oz) freshly ground white pepper
    • 25 g (1 oz) ground coriander seeds
    • 25 g (1 oz) ground cumin
    • 25 g (1 oz) ground celery seeds
    • 25 g (1 oz) dried oregano or marjoram

Method

Heat the frying pan or griddle. Thoroughly dry the chicken breasts, flatten them, and dip them in the butter. Sprinkle liberally on both sides with the seasoning, pressing it in well.

When the frying pan or barbecue coals are as hot as you can get them, put on the chicken pieces. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, and serve.

A crisp, cooling salad, and a baked potato with soured cream, or mashed potatoes are good accompaniments.

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