I’ve heard about chicken wrapped in parchment paper, and even of chicken wrapped in foil. But the cooking of what is essentially chicken in a bag, had always (in my humble experience) taken place in the oven. I’ve never heard of chicken that’s sautéed in the foil bag on a skillet. It certainly was a weird feeling when I placed that foil package on top of a hot iron skillet and waited to see what would happen. Would it explode or catch on fire?
I actually wanted to do this recipe because of the foil balloon that Simple to Spectacular authors Mark Bittman and Jean Georges Vongerichten promised would happen. Because of the escaping steam, they said that the aluminum foil would puff up like a “Jiffy Pop”. But nothing much happened to mine. Perhaps it was the fact that I didn’t have the proper size of aluminum foil. They ask for the extra large 18-inch version; I only had the 12-inch kind. I ended up jamming in way too much chicken and perhaps didn’t seal the foil well enough. Either way, the loss of the spectacle was redeemed by extraordinary taste. The tomato gets flattened and kind of crispy, and all that Parmesan melts into a beautiful sauce that coats the rosemary-infused chicken.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 thick slices tomato
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
- 10 small black olives
- Salt and pepper
Take two pieces of 18-inch foil and lay one on top of the other. Smear 1/2 of the oil in the middle of the foil. Lay both slices of tomato down side by side in the center and top each one with a chicken breast. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and then top with the olives, rosemary leaves and Parmesan.
Pull the edges of the aluminum foil up towards the center and seal as tightly as possible so nothing can leak out. Just make sure the top breasts are still laying flat and not jumbled up, or they won’t cook correctly.
Heat a large iron skillet over high heat. Add the rest of the oil, swirl around to cover, and then pour most of it out. You just want a small film on the surface. Carefully place the foil packet in the skillet. After about 2 minutes the authors said the aluminum foil should expand like a balloon. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. As I explained above, my packet did not puff up. Either way, it will need a total of around 7-8 minutes in the skillet. Remove and let rest for a minute.
Carefully unfold the aluminum foil and check for doneness, around 160°F. If ready, serve the chicken on top of the tomatoes and pour on the sauce.