Spice-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Lemon-Cucumber Raita
- TOTAL TIME: 40 MIN
- SERVINGS: 6
- 2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 1/2 seedless cucumber, unpeeled and coarsely shredded
- 1 1/4 cups plain whole milk yogurt
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Six 6-ounce boneless chicken breast halves, with skin
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small dry skillet, toast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds over moderate heat until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool. Grind the seeds to a fine powder.
- Spread the shredded cucumber on several layers of paper towel and blot dry with more paper towels. Transfer the cucumber to a bowl and stir in the yogurt, lemon zest, garlic, cayenne and 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture; season the raita with salt and pepper.
- Brush the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture all over the breasts. Heat 2 large ovenproof skillets over moderately high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to each. Add 3 of the breasts to each skillet, skin side down, and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Turn the breasts and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Transfer the skillets to the oven and bake the chicken for about 8 minutes, or until just cooked through. Serve the chicken warm, with the raita.
The tangy yogurt and spices in the raita suggest an equally tart Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley.