Herb-baked Chicken in a Sea Salt Crust
Paul Gayler - Executive Chef, The Lanesborough
Cook Time 30 minutes
4 x 180g free-range chicken breasts, on the bone
Salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs – thyme, rosemary, etc
For the crust:
450g plain flour
100g sea salt
1 tbsp mixed chopped herbs, as above
1 large egg
a little beaten egg, to glaze
Cooking food under a salt crust really captures the natural flavours, and doesn’t make it as salty as you might imagine (you don’t eat the crust). Crack the crust open at the table to release the wonderful aromas in front of your guests…
Make the crust first. Mix the flour, salt and mixed herbs in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the mix; add the egg and water. Using your hands, bring it together to form a dough. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in the fridge to rest the dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then roll them in the chopped garlic and herbs.
Take the salt-crust dough out of the fridge and roll it out to about 5mm thick. Cut it into quarters. Wrap a chicken breast in each piece, enclosing everything except the wing bone. Brush the egg glaze liberally over the surface of the dough and place the wrapped breasts on a large baking sheet. Bake them in the oven for 18–20 minutes, and leave them to stand for 2 minutes before serving.