Sometimes when I go to the library I like to pick up a cookbook by a mystery author. I often choose one I wouldn’t actually go out and buy, but that I’m happy to browse through and that was exactly how I felt about Gino D’Acampo’s Fantastico!: Modern Italian Food. I don’t know much about him, apart from that he is on Ready Steady Cook, which I don’t watch as I’m not at home when it’s on, but I like Italian food, some of the pictures looked nice and it wasn’t too heavy – I still had other shopping to do and the main point of going to the library wasn’t actually to pick up cookbooks but to get more books to read on the tube to work every day.
I decided to make this chicken dish as I have never used egg to thicken a sauce and I was intrigued about how it would turn out. I also very rarely use sage but love lemon so the combination of flavours was different to what I was used to. I found the fennel seeds give the sauce quite a strong flavour and can be left out if you’re not so keen on fennel, but the sauce does taste very fresh and overall it is very easy to do.
The book the recipe was taken from was Fantastico by Gino D’Acampo. I would say it’s a book for people who don’t do a lot of cooking and are looking for an introduction to easy Italian cooking. There were a lot of nice recipes in the book, recipes I would happily make, but not many that really excited me and made me think, I’ve got to make this! I’ll be saying goodbye to it soon as it goes back to the library, but at least it’s taught me a new technique. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I use egg in a sauce.
Ingredients – Serves 2
2 chicken breasts
1 tbsp flour
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp fennel (optional)
200ml chicken stock
1 egg yolk
1 tsp sage
How to Make Chicken Breasts in Lemon and Sage Sauce
1. Make a paste with the flour, garlic and lemon juice. Coat the chicken with the paste and leave for half an hour.
2. Put a little olive oil in a sauce pan. Scrape the paste off the chicken and keep for the next step. Add the chicken and the fennel seeds to the pan and fry the chicken on each side.
3. If the paste is quite thick, thin it with a little water or stock then add it to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon. Then add the rest of the stock, sage, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then lower to a very gentle simmer for about 20 minutes. Or, put in the oven at about 180C for half an hour.
4. Mix the egg yolk with a little lemon juice. Remove the chicken from the pan. Stir in the lemon juice. Keep stirring as it thickens but don’t let it boil.
5. Serve the sauce poured over the chicken with rice or potatoes and vegetables.