This dish is probably the one that made me decide to progress from writing my 8 Month Challenge blog towards something more focussed on the pleasure of food rather than the journey of weight loss.
Michael (my future husband) posted a picture on Facebook of one of our cats hovering near his dinner plate waiting to see if there was any chance of some leftovers heading her way… Apart from the obvious cooing over her adorable cheekiness there were quite a few comments about how nice dinner looked and how nice it was to have someone in the house who liked cooking.
Things kind of snowballed from there and you’re reading the result… Yay for validation and positive feedback.
So back to the recipe in hand; It’s not authentically Spanish but it is very much inspired by Iberian food. I love chorizo, I love jamón ibérico, I love fresh olives and almonds and manchego! Some of my greatest memories of Spain involve food – Swordfish from a roadside cafe near Sorbas, Pintxos in a small bar Donostia / San Sebastian and Frito Mallorquin opposite the bullring in Alcúdia. I could go on for days here about how it breaks my heart that so many people who visit Spain never eat the local food. They are seriously missing out!
Above all of those other things I mentioned above my one true Spanish love is Pimentón Dulce – sweet smoked Parprika, the smell and taste of which immediately take me straight back to sitting in the Iberian sun. I add it to pretty much anything that doesn’t feel like it’s got enough oomph – instantly bringing warmth and happiness. Though don’t add too much as it can get a little overbearing if you’re not careful…
With all of that in mind this recipe is deliberately simple without being boring. I’m sure I could have chosen from a range of herbs to go with it in place of the Oregano – indeed I’ve spent many days walking through mountainsides covered in wild thyme, which I am sure would be just as good – but the store cupboard made the decision for me on this occasion. Just don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Oh and make sure your griddle pan is hot! You need some crispy edges…
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 tsp Smoked Paprika (Pimenton)
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 0.5 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- 300 g Skinless and Boneless Chicken Breast, cut into strips
Mix the spices, herbs and seasonings together before adding into a bowl (or zip-lock bag) with the oil and lemon juice. Make sure everything is combined before adding the chicken and stirring (or shaking well) - check that every bit of the chicken is coated with the mixture.
Marinade for 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge, to allow the flavours to develop - why rush,eh?
Heat a griddle or heavy frying pan over a medium high heat before adding the chicken to the pan - turn regularly but allow the edges to catch slightly to add a bit more of a smoky flavour.
Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, depending on how thick you cut it, but do check that everything is cooked through before serving.