We’re on an egg roll these days. Last week zabaglione, this week Poached Chicken Breasts with DIY Mayo–and next week… well, you’ll just have to check back next week. One hint, picnic. And no, I’m not talking about deviled eggs[Sound of SEO grinding to a halt.] This post marks the one-year anniversary of The Garum Factory. Happy birthday to us! To everyone who’s been reading and following us and making comments, Thank you. Writing a blog can be a lot like beaming messages from space back to earth. Is anybody listening? Is anyone there? Thank you for not letting us languish in the void.
Melissa Clark wrote an excellent article for the NYT several weeks ago extolling the virtues of DIY mayonnaise. Embers I’d long thought dead heated up faster than high school sweethearts friending each other on Facebook after three decades. I whipped up a batch, tasted it and… Holy Toledo! What I’d completely forgotten, in my DIY mayo hiatus, is how superior the homemade stuff is to commercial versions–eggy, rich, mouth-filling–and how easy it is.
As it happened Jody and I were chatting about revisiting chicken breasts, a food we’d abandoned for tastier pastures after they became the ubiquitous and boring “white meat”. Maybe it was time to think about doing them again, old school. Poached chicken breasts. Homemade mayonnaise. A post is born.
Jody, I never know the answer to How long can a photograph take, anyway? but I do know, if it weren’t for your food, none of us would be here. Ken
NOTE: Please forgive the jumble of photos, especially if you’ve arrived here from a much later post looking for instructions on making your own mayonnaise. After this piece was published we changed the format of the blog. Unfortunately it wreaked visual havoc with some previous posts, including this one.
Poached Chicken Breasts with DIY Mayo
Note: You will need a circle of parchment paper trimmed to fit a large sauté pan (see photo).
- 1½ pounds boneless chicken breasts
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus additional juice if necessary
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 8 baby carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 8 baby turnips, cut in half
- 1 stalk celery, from the heart, peeled and thinly sliced, about ¼ cup
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 tablespoon chopped cornichons
- ¼ teaspoon garum or Asian fish sauce
- 1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
- 3 radishes, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chervil sprigs
- Trim the breasts of any fat or membranes. Put into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, add the lemon zest, tarragon and 2 tablespoons olive oil and rub all over. Cover and refrigerate.
- Combine the lemon juice, chicken stock, carrots, and turnips together in a large sauté pan, over low heat. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken, celery and scallions. Wiggle everything around so the chicken is covered with stock. Cover with a circle of parchment. Turn the heat down as low as possible so the stock is barely moving. Poach 20 minutes or until the chickens are 155 degrees at the fattest part. Remove from the heat and let sit 15 minutes.
- Remove the breasts and vegetables to a large plate to finishing cooling.
- Remove 2 tablespoons of the cooking broth to a bowl. Turn the heat to medium under the remaining broth in the pan and reduce to a glaze.
- Separate the yolk and white of the egg. Reserve the white for another use. Add the yolk to the 2 tablespoons of broth with the mustard and whisk until frothy. Starting one drop at a time, whisk in the canola oil. Make sure the previous drop is completely incorporated before adding another drop. When you’ve whisked about ¼ cup of canola oil into the yolk you can speed things up by dribbling the oil into the emulsion in a very thin stream. Resist the urge to go fast. When you’ve finished with the canola oil, whisk in the remaining olive oil in a thin stream. By this time the emulsion should have thickened up considerably. Add the remaining tarragon, the glaze, the capers, cornichons and garum. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding lemon juice, pepper and salt if necessary.
- Slice each breast into 5 or 6 slices.
- Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter. Top with the cooked vegetables, chicken and radishes. Dollop with mayo and top with chervil sprigs. Refrigerate leftover mayonnaise up to a week.