Brined seasoned roasted chicken breasts
Main photo by Julia Laxer
The major problem that many people have with boneless, skinless chicken breasts is that they so often turn out dry. But there is a simple, quick and easy solution to this and that is to brine them in sea salt and water.
Here we look at this technique and how to then season them, start them on the grill and finally roast them at high heat for chicken breast that will turn out delicious and moist every time.
The first step is to mix together lukewarm (not hot) water and a handful or so of sea salt in a large bowl. Take your boneless, skinless chicken breasts and place them in the salted water.
Let them sit in this quick brine for at least 15-30 minutes at room temperature. You can brine the chicken for as long as 3-4 hours (not longer) in the fridge but should take it out about 30 minutes before cooking.
Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine.
Rinse the chicken pieces in lukewarm water and then place your chicken on a large platter and tap the pieces dry.
Then comes the time to season them. First, brush the chicken breasts on both sides with olive oil.
You can then season them with any number of combinations. Sea salt and black pepper if you wish. Liberally with sea salt, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder is a classic.
Here I seasoned liberally with sea salt, cracked pepper corns, Bay Seasoning, cayenne powder and garlic powder.
While this next step is not essential I find it makes the dish better.
On an oiled indoor grill heated to 375 degrees, grill the chicken pieces about 2 minutes a side. They will not be anywhere near fully cooked, but the point is to give them some extra flavour and to brown them.
You can also do this on an outdoor BBQ (gas or charcoal) or a ridged cast iron pan.
Place the breasts on an oiled baking pan and place in an oven preheated to 450 degrees. I find that high heat works best with chicken breast to help avoid it drying out.
Cook at 450 for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the breasts.
Remember that Health Canada says that a chicken breast is fully cooked when an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees at its thickest part.
After the chicken is finished cooking let sit 5-10 minutes before serving. This is essential. If you start cutting into your chicken prior to that it will serve to dry it out.
Enjoy with the side dishes of your choice and a nice, chilled dry white wine.