Chicken is almost a stable in our hacienda. While we often end up making similar kinds of things for weekday dinners, finding two chicken breasts lurking about in the fridge, I was determined to try something different yet make it as quick and painless as possible.
There was a half-used jar of green pesto from earlier in the week, and decided to marinade the breasts in this for a few minutes, with a few grinds of dried red chillie and black pepper before wrapping them in foil, scraping the extra marinade over the top and baking in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.
Was also making a cauliflower au gratin, using up the pale-fleshed beast that has also been lurking about in the fridge, a few shelves below the chicken. Making the white sauce, or should I say Bechamel sauce, for this dish I always think of my grandmother, seeing as this is one of the first things I ever made, following her instructions which she called out from across the kitchen, letting me arrive at a creamy, lump-free sauce all by myself. However, her technique was not as swift as the one I now use, courtesy of Delia Smith. Throw in all the ingredients – flour into softly melted butter, add milk; start to whist. Whisk constantly, turning the heat down once the milk heats up, and keep whisking until the sauce thickens. It’s almost like magic.
Anyway, I chucked in a generous handful of grated extra mature cheddar, and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Always white pepper. I poured this over the boiled cauliflower sitting in an oven proof dish, top this with more grated cheddar and pop it in the oven below the chicken. Seeing as most of it is already cooked, it just needs to be in there for about 15-20 minutes to bubble a little and brown on top.