My colleague from RTE ‘The Restaurant’ and friend Gary O’Hanlon, talented head chef of Viewmount House, Co Longford has chosen his favourite Spring recipe:
‘This is without doubt one of my favourite things to cook on a night off. It’s simple and absolutely packed with flavour.
Friendly Farmer Chicken Picatta with Broccoli, Champ Potatoes and Flat Parsley
2 chicken breasts butterflied and batted out thin
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup loose flat parsley roughly chopped
3 tbsp of mini capers and 2 tbsp of the caper juice
1/2 cup flour
drizzle of rapeseed oil
1/2 pint of dry white wine
4/5 knobs of butter
salt and pepper to taste
For the Mash
4/5 medium to large potatoes
splash of milk/cream
salt and white pepper
4 scallions sliced finely on the bias
1 whole carrot peeled and halved
1 x 2 inch piece of courgette cut into quarter
1 purple potato parboiled or alternatively use a piece of butternut squash for colour
6 florets of broccoli
For the Mash
Boil the potatoes in salted water
drain, add scallions, butter and some cream/milk until you reach your desired consistency
Season with salt and white pepper to taste
Par boil the broccoli, blanch and set aside for when the chicken is cooked.
For the carrot cones point your knife to the top of the carror piece and down at an angle towards the base leaving the base alone. cut straight down at an angle then rotate the carrot and repeat all the way around until you get a cone shape.
Add to salted water and boil until you can just about put a cocktail stick through it.
Take your courgette quarter piece and cut through from one corner to the opposite corner in a curving motion cut through it. Cut right out to the edge in the middle then curving back. Repeat on the opposite side then flatten out the base. Add to the boiling carrot water for the last 20 seconds of cooking. Remove and blanch in cold water.
Set aside with a little drizzle of butter and season. When plating the chicken put the garnish in a pre heated oven for 1 min to re-heat.
For the Chicken
Add half the lemon juice, a little oil and 1/4 of the parsley to the chicken and rub in and leave to marinate for approx 1-2 hours.
Heat a heavy based frying pan and add some rapeseed oil or vegetable oil (olive oil is a little too strong)
Season the chicken all over and pass through the flour to get a even coating all over and add to the pan.
Turn after 2-3 mins and cook on the opposite side for 2 mins. Now add the remaining lemon juice, capers and their juices and the white wine.
Turn the heat up high and reduce until you’ve half the quantity of wine left.
now add the knobs of butter one by one and toss the pan back and forth to create a wave and this folds the butter into the sauce and thus thickening it a little and giving it a beautiful rich glaze.
Now add the remaining parsley and toss.
To plate, mould out the champ for a little height with a cup or a mould ring.
Top with the chicken and spoon over some sauce. Arrange the carrot cones, courgettes and purple potato on the plate and then the broccoli florets (just drop the florets in boiling salted water for 10 seconds to refresh, drain and serve.
1) Replace the chicken with Veal Escalopes
2) You can leave out the butter for a healthier option
3) Replace the mash with baby potatoes, linguini or any other pasta
5) Everything except the chicken can be made a day ahead and re-heated if you are planning on entertaining.