Chicken Parma for the Aussies and a Mexican dish that goes with everything

Make the most of Ireland’s free range chicken and use up a glut of tomatoes with these recipes

Moorish rainbow chard and pinenuts

Moorish rainbow chard and pinenuts

 

Since I have been writing this column, I have been asked by quite a few Australians who are living here to write a recipe for chicken Parma. I am not quite sure at this stage if it is an Australian dish or an Italian classic, but this one is for you guys.

We have a abundance of free range chicken producers in Ireland and I used one reared in Co Carlow for this recipe. I have a fondness for this county as David, my husband, was born and raised there. Also, The Village Dairy, where the milk and cream is second to none, is based there. The dairy supports five small farms around the Carlow area and what’s not to love about that. 

Myself and my sous chef Hannah constantly have our heads stuck in the vast cook book collection we have upstairs in Kai, my restaurant in Galway, and this week I have decided to include Hannah’s pico de gallo recipe, the inspiration for which came from those many hours of research. This Mexican dish is really useful and goes well with every thing from a toasted sandwich to a big nachos spread. It’s also a handy way of using up a glut of tomatoes.

If you need Mexican pantry supplies, pay a visit to Picado, at 44 Richmond Street in Dublin (they also do online sales at picadomexican.com). It’s a one-stop shop run by Lily Ramirez-Foran and Alan Foran. The chilli and hot chocolate are next level and they also sell clamato, an amazing tomato juice pasteurised with clam juice, which makes the ultimate bloody Mary. 

In New Zealand, we call chard silver beet, and this little side dish can be turned into a main course with the addition of some whipped ricotta. I know pine nuts cost the earth, but they are well worth the spend here in this dish.

ONE PAN CHICKEN PARMESAN

One-pan chicken Parmesan
One-pan chicken Parmesan

Ingredients
Serves 4
4 chicken breasts
1 punnet of mixed red and yellow cherry tomatoes
2 red peppers, sliced
1 cup of tomato sauce, or passata
1 handful of basil leaves
2 balls of mozzarella
100g grated Parmesan
4 tsp dried oregano
2tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
5 tbsp olive oil
100g flour
2 eggs, beaten
300g panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

Method
1
Scatter the cherry tomatoes, red peppers and garlic on a large baking tray; coat in a healthy amount of olive oil, salt and pepper, balsamic, half the oregano and red chilli flakes.

2 Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Using three bowls, fill one with the flour, one with the beaten egg and the third with the breadcrumbs. Season the breadcrumbs with the remaining chilli flakes and oregano and add the grated Parmesan.

3 One at a time, place a chicken breast in the flour, lightly coat it then shake off any excess flour. Next, put it in the egg mix, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Make sure the chicken in evenly coated in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the rest of the chicken breasts.

4 Place the chicken on the baking tray with the vegetables, moving them around to make space for the chicken.

5 Place the tray in a preheated oven at 180 degrees, or equivalent, for 25-30 minutes.

6 Remove the tray carefully and spoon the tomato sauce over the chicken breasts – you want to cover the middle of the breast. Then add the torn mozzarella all over the chicken and the tomatoes and peppers. Bake for a further five minutes until the mozzarella has melted and is bubbling.

7 Garnish with torn basil and serve with your favourite pasta, rice or roast potatoes.

MOORISH RAINBOW CHARD AND PINE NUTS

Moorish rainbow chard and pinenuts
Moorish rainbow chard and pinenuts

Ingredients
Serves 4
1 bunch of rainbow chard leaves, roughly chopped. You can also use kale if chard isn’t available
40g pine nuts, toasted
30g dried cranberries, or any other dried fruit
1 white onion, cut into thin circles
20g flour
1 tbsp rice flour
1 lemon, zested and juiced
10ml good quality olive oil
100ml vegetable oil for frying

Method
1
Put the chard in a large bowl. Mix together the lemon juice and lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Massage the chard with this for three minutes, this will break down the fibres of the chard for the salad. Set aside.

2 Put the flour and rice flour in a small bowl. Gently toss the onion in the flour getting each slice coated in the mixture.

3 Put the vegetable oil in a deep sided frying pan or saucepan and heat on high until the oil is ready for frying. This should take about five minutes or until you can see a shine on the oil. This will show the oil is at a high enough temperature for frying.

4 In batches, add the onions to the oil. Be careful of the oil spattering. Shallow fry for two minutes or until onions are golden brown and have visibly crisped up.

5 Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions from the oil and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel. Continue until all the onions have been fried.

6 Put the onions into the mixing bowl with the chard, add the toasted pine nuts and dried cranberries and toss together.

7 Transfer to a serving bowl and top with extra fried onions. Serve as a side with any barbecued meat or fish, or a soft cheese such as feta or goat’s cheese.

PICO DE GALLO

Pico de gallo
Pico de gallo

Ingredients
Serves 4
1kg of good quality tomatoes, very finely chopped
2 red onions, very finely chopped
1 red pepper, very finely chopped
1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp cider vinegar
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp caster sugar

Method
1
In a deep bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Check the seasoning, sometimes the tomatoes will need a good amount of salt.

2 This is ready to serve immediately, or will keep in the fridge for two days. The salsa will produce a lot of excess water over time due to the salt and vinegar drawing out the liquids from the tomatoes. Simply drain any excess liquid and the salsa is still good to serve.

3 Pico de gallo goes really well with grilled meats, mild cheese or any Mexican dish. It is also great as a dip with tortilla chips.

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