Tenderest Salt-Crusted Chicken Breast

Photograph: Jessica George

We’ve been wanting to try this out for a while now and one of Jackie Cameron’s students, Jessica George took up the challenge of completely enclosing chicken breasts in a crust of egg and salt and baking it. Why would you ever want to do such a thing?  Won’t it make the chicken inedibly salty?

 

Incredibly, no. It has a quite different effect, creating a salt-chamber in which the all the moisture of the meat is retained so that you end up with an incredibly flavourful, tender and moist, delicious dish! What the salt does is insulate the meat, cooking it gently and evenly.

 

This recipe is made with free-range chicken breasts but works very well with fish and vegetables as well.  And of course, no water required to cook this dish!

 

Here’s how to do it:

 

Ingredients

  • 2 x  free-range chicken breasts
  • 2 x  fresh lemons
  • A bunch of freshly picked thyme
  • 750g Oryx Coarse Salt
  • 2 x free range eggs

 

Method

  • Marinade the chicken breasts in the freshly picked thyme and lemon juice from the two lemons.
  • For maximum flavour, allow the chicken breast to rest in this marinade overnight.
  • After the chicken breasts have marinaded overnight, mix together the egg and Oryx Coarse Salt, get a oven pan that fits into your WEBER
  • completely cover the chicken breast -by first placing a base of salt on the base of the pan-topping with the chicken and creating a salt “crust” around the breast-with the salt and egg mixture.
  • Place the chicken breast on the Weber and allow to cook at just below 200 degrees for about 15-20mins (direct heat)
  • Then put on indirect heat and check the chicken breast in 5 minutes time.   Check by using a sharp knife to pierce through the crust into the centre of the chicken-allow it to stay there for a few seconds-remove and feel if the knife is warm …if it is warm, then it is cooked.
  • Another good gauge is to see if the salt “crust” is crispy golden on the outside.
  • Once cooked take the chicken breast off the braai and now comes the exciting part of removing the salt case. It’s a bit like finding buried treasure!