Flat-iron chicken and kale

crunchy thanks to the nuts with a hint of natural sweetness from the apples and dressing, it also happens to be one of my favourites

Food | Recipes

This light dish, full of protein and nourishing nutrients, is one we try to keep on the menu at Daylesford’s cafés for as long as we have kale. Crunchy, thanks to the nuts, and with a hint of natural sweetness from the apples and dressing, it also happens to be one of my favourites.

4 x chicken breasts (about 160g each)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
40ml olive oil
juice of 1⁄2 lemon
salt and pepper

For the salad
120g pecans, broken into bite-sized pieces
3 tbsp caster sugar
small pinch of cayenne pepper
40ml white wine vinegar
50ml olive oil
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp clear honey
250g kale, stalks removed, leaves roughly chopped
2 apples, unpeeled, cored and cut into thin matchsticks

Lay the chicken breasts between sheets of cling film and gently flatten using a meat tenderiser or rolling pin. Put the chicken into a dish and rub with the garlic and olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for as long as possible (ideally overnight). Remove the chicken from the fridge and bring to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

Soak the pecans in warm water for 10–15 minutes, then drain and pat dry with kitchen paper. Mix together the sugar, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and toss in the dried pecans. Place the nuts on a small baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake in the oven until the sugar is lightly caramelised and the pecans are golden, about 5–10 minutes, then leave to cool.

Preheat a ridged griddle pan and cook the flattened chicken breasts for about 5 minutes each side until cooked. Squeeze over the lemon juice and leave to rest while you assemble the salad.

Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mustard and honey and check for seasoning. Toss the kale with the dressing and then mix in the apple batons and candied pecans. Serve with the rested chicken breasts.