Friday, March 23, 2007

Five-Spice Grilled Chicken with Orange Fennel

Copyright 2007 by Cooking With The Single Guy


1 lb. chicken breast, thinly sliced
3 T Chinese 5-spice
1 T sea salt
1 T extra virgin olive oil
juice from half an orange

Fennel side:
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (also known as "sweet anise")
juice from half an orange
salt to taste
1 T extra virgin olive oil

Prepare your chicken breast by flattening with a pounder (covering your chicken breast with plastic wrap) to make it evenly thin, about 1/2-inch thick. Season both sides with salt and Chinese 5-spice. Then drizzle with olive oil to coat.

Warm a grill skillet or outdoor grill, and cook chicken on both sides (about 6 minutes each side). When your chicken is almost done, squeeze orange juice over chicken and remove from heat. Let the chicken rest.

In a saute pan, warm olive oil over medium high heat. Add fennel that you've thinly sliced (using a mandoline slicing only the bulb part, leaving the stalk for garnish) and add salt and orange juice. Saute until soften, about 10-15 minutes. Place your fennel on a plate and lay your cut chicken breast on top. Garnish with some of the fennel leaves.

Makes 2 servings. Serve with roasted garlic mashed potatoes.

Serve with a glass of Chardonnay.

TIP: I love using fennel, which is sometimes called "sweet anise" at the grocery store. Cut off the top stalks. Then cut the bottom part off to make a flat surface so you can begin cutting thin slices using a mandoline or something similar. Put the stalk into a vase and add some flowers to create an interesting centerpiece for the table.

WHAT'S IN YOUR FIVE? If you don't have Chinese 5-spice readily mixed, then create your own by placing black pepper (preferably Szechuan peppercorns), cassia, cloves, fennel seed and star anise into a spice grinder.

THIN IS IN: Why do I emphasize thinly sliced chicken breast? Because I find them faster to cook on the grill without burning but still getting that nice grill marks. And I like them even so they cook evenly and I don't have to worry about one part being undercooked while the other side is burnt. I mention above how you should pound the breast thin, but some grocery stores (such as my local Safeway) now sell thinly sliced chicken breast steaks. Perfect!

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