Spiced chicken kiev with zaatar crumb, crisp aleppo potato, smoked almond and kale salad

Middle Eastern chicken kiev.
Middle Eastern chicken kiev. Photo: Katrina Meynink

A new take on the good old (why oh why did it fall out of favour?) chicken kiev. With a dash of zaatar and the lemony peppery goodness of aleppo pepper, it's a little lighter and brighter than the original. Add some smoked almond and roast potato salad on the side and this is a winner.

Ingredients

Filling

225g butter, room temperature

4 cloves garlic, crushed

⅓ cup flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

⅓ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

⅓ cup chives, finely chopped

finely grated rind and juice of 1½ lemons

3 tsp aleppo pepper

2 tsp cumin

To assemble

4 large chicken breasts (170-200g each)

flour for dusting

2 large eggs

2 cups breadcrumbs or panko crumbs

2 tbsp zaatar

2 tbsp ricebran ​oil

Potato, smoked almond and kale salad

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cups new potatoes, quartered

1 cup kale, stems removed, shredded (we used dinosaur kale)

½ cup smoked almonds

2 tbsp quality mayonnaise

1 tsp zaatar, plus extra to serve

1 tsp aleppo pepper, plus extra to serve

Method

1. Make the flavoured butter by combining the filling ingredients in a bowl. Once fully incorporated turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log. Place in the fridge until firm enough to slice into rounds.

2. Preheat oven to 175C.

3. Place the potatoes and olive oil in a large roasting tray and toss to combine. Roast for 45 minutes or until golden and crisp.

4. Meanwhile, working with one chicken breast at a time, place the fillet between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound gently with a meat mallet to flatten slightly – you don't need to bash the hell out of it, just gently increase its size by about 30 per cent. Make a small cut in the side of the thickest part of each breast and insert a portion of herb butter into each, approximately one tablespoon per breast.

5. In separate shallow trays, place the flour and egg. In a third tray combine the breadcrumbs and zaatar. Dip each stuffed chicken breast in flour, then egg, then the spiced crumb, shaking off excess between layers. Press crumbs onto each breast to help them stick. Layer the crumbed chicken between plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6. Place a frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil, and once shimmering, add the chicken, being careful not to overcrowd the pan (note: you may need more oil if cooking the chicken in batches). Brown on one side, approximately two minutes, then gently flip then place in the oven to cook until the chicken is evenly browned all over and cooked through. This may vary slightly depending on the thickness but test for doneness between the eight to 10 minute mark by piercing the thickest part of the meat with a skewer; when cooked the juices will run clear. Once ready, remove from oven and slice each breast gently on the diagonal to reveal the herbed butter centre.

7. Remove potatoes from the oven. Add to a large bowl with the kale, almonds, mayonnaise, zaatar and aleppo pepper and stir gently to combine. Spoon the salad onto serving plates and sprinkle over some extra zaatar and aleppo pepper. Top each portion with two kiev halves and serve immediately.