The recipe comes from a friend, who cooks it when catering for hundreds of people at a time. It’s easy to prepare in advance, cooks easily and presents well. If you’re not in the mood to whip up the silken mayonnaise, then just buy a good homemade version and add some finely chopped preserved lemon. Search out for preserved vine leaves from a European delicatessen or green grocer. You will need to soak the leaves in cold water for an hour to remove any excess saltiness.
LEMON SILKEN MAYONNAISE
300 g silken tofu
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon rice syrup
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
Pinch of ground turmeric
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground chilli
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
4 chicken breast fillets
8 large vine leaves, soaked in water for 1 hour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Prepare the mayonnaise by placing all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and processing for 2 minutes to make a purée, then cover and refrigerate until needed.
To make the spice mix, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towel. Roll each breast in the spice mix to coat, dusting off any excess. Place on a large plate. Take two vine leaves per breast, patting them dry. Wrap the vine leaves across each breast and seal the leaves with a little oil – try to keep the seal on the underside of each breast. Use a pastry brush to brush oil over the vine leaves, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Transfer the chicken to a lightly oiled baking tray, making sure to leave plenty of space between the breasts, then sprinkle with the oregano. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
Slice each breast into pieces and serve hot with the lemon silken mayonnaise. This chicken dish tastes great with some freshly picked tomatoes, cucumber chunks, feta, dried oregano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.