Roasted Chicken with Heirloom Tomatoes
and Fresh Bay Leaf
Heartbeat at the W New York Hotel,
New York, NY
each skin-on, boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces
each fresh bay leaves
to 6 cloves roasted garlic
cups reduced rich chicken stock
each purple cherokee tomato sliced 1/2 inch thick
each big daddy sunshine tomato sliced 1/2 inch thick
to 3 each small green zebra tomato sliced 1/2 inch thick
each yellow pear tomato, slit in half lengthwise
each red pear tomato, slit in half lengthwise
salt and freshly milled pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar to taste
Insert a fresh bay leaf between the skin and meat of each
chicken breast. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
Remove the bay leaves and reserve. Heat a medium sauté
pan over a low flame* for several minutes until the pan is
quite hot. Lightly season each chicken breast with salt and
pepper on both sides. Rub the grapeseed oil onto the skin
of each chicken breast and place the breasts, skin side down,
into the hot saute pan. Turn the heat up to medium and allow
the breasts to cook until well browned. Turn the chicken breasts
over then use a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.
Add the roasted garlic and allow to heat until you can smell
their perfume. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 3 to 5
minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts.
Remove the breasts to a heated holding plate and keep warm.
Increase the flame and reduce the chicken stock until it coats
a spoon like syrup. Reduce the flame and add the sliced tomatoes.
Allow the tomatoes to just heat through. Swirl the pan, rather
than stirring, so the tomatoes retain their individual shape
and color. Remove from the flame immediately and swirl in
the reserved bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add balsamic vinegar if the sauce needs acidity. Divide the
tomato sauce to the centers of two warmed bowls or deep-rimmed
plates. Place the chicken breasts over the sauce, garnish
with the bay leaves, and serve with toasted crusty bread.
*This method of preparation uses a low temperature saut&eactue;.
Leaving the pan over a low flame for a long period of time
allows the pan to get hot enough to put a good sear on the
chicken. When the chicken is added to the pan, the initial
heat sears the skin while the cool temperature of the flesh
reduces the heat of the pan shortly afterward. Oil is rubbed
on the breasts rather than placed in the pan. This method,
combined with the heat absorption of the breast, protects
the oil from breaking down which would create free radicals.
Turning the fire up once the chicken is added gently brings
the heat of the pan back to a point which allows the skin
to crisp without scorching.