NOW & THEN
FOOD & DRINK
Recipe & food styling Fiona Smith Photography Aaron McLean Styling Fiona Lascelles CREDITS Linen tea towel from Smitten Design. For full details, see Credits Index.
Fiona Smith delves into the archives to update a Cuisine classic WHAT WAS GOING ON OMC’s How Bizarre was named single of the year at the New Zealand Music Awards, Michael Jackson played two sell-out shows in Auckland, and in the first election held under MMP, New Zealand First acted as ‘kingmaker’ (sound familiar?), eventually returning Jim Bolger’s National government to power. PESTO WAS EVERYWHERE in the 90s – it wowed us with its punchy summer flavours and added pizzazz to cooking with ease – and it’s still pretty popular. But as one who has never been fond of the ready-made versions, I say enough. Beautiful fresh summer basil leaves, pine nuts and parmesan add the pesto flavours to this salad, and go well with Julie Biuso’s original pan-fried chicken. I like to leave the skin on the breasts and add a little parmesan to the flour for even more flavour. CHICKEN BREASTS WITH PESTO & GOAT CHEESE TOPPING (1996) SERVES 4 These pesto-coated chicken breasts are given an added tang with a topping of goats cheese. 4 single chicken breasts, skinned and defatted and flattened with a rolling pin 2 tablespoons plain flour mixed with ½ teaspoon of salt large knob of butter 4 tablespoons pesto 200g Kapiti chevrette or chevre goat cheese Dust the chicken breasts with seasoned flour. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat then drop in the butter. Add the chicken breasts while the butter is sizzling and cook both sides until browned and nearly cooked through. Transfer the chicken breasts to a shallow ovenproof dish, smear with pesto and top with the goat’s cheese. Grill until browned, then serve with asparagus and courgettes. CHICKEN, ZUCCHINI & ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH PESTO FLAVOURS (2018) SERVES 4 / PREPARATION 15 MINUTES / COOKING 15 MINUTES 2 tablespoons lemon juice finely grated zest of 1 lemon 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 3 medium zucchini 4 small chicken breasts, skin on if liked 4 tablespoons flour 50g parmesan, finely grated 30g butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 350g asparagus ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted small bunch of fresh basil In a small jug, whisk together the lemon juice and zest, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. Slice the zucchini lengthwise as thinly as possible (use a mandoline if you have one). Place in a flat dish and pour over half the lemon-oil mix, stirring to coat. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 6, turning occasionally. Place the chicken breasts between pieces of baking paper and beat out to flatten to an even thickness. Put the flour on a plate, add half the parmesan, season well and mix. Dredge each breast in the flour. Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy-based pan over medium heat. Cook the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Bring a shallow pan of water to the boil and cook the asparagus for 3-4 minutes until tender then drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Divide the zucchini and asparagus among plates, drizzle over the remaining dressing and scatter over the remaining parmesan, the pine nuts and basil leaves, finishing with some freshly ground pepper. Serve with the chicken.