Less Scandi noir, more Scandi blonde, the flavours in this dish are subtle but delicious and the buttermilk bath helps keep the chicken juicy. It’s as good cold as it is hot, if you have any leftovers.
It is best marinated overnight but other than that it’s quick to prep and quick to cook. We ate it with buttered new potatoes and baby broad beans from the garden.
For maximum flavour I usually prefer chicken thighs cooked on the bone and with the skin on, but this is one of those rare occasions when skinless, boneless breasts or mini fillets come into their own.
Buttermilk Chicken with Dill and Caraway (serves 2-3)
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts or about 400g mini fillets, preferably free range
284 ml pot of buttermilk
1 bunch of fresh dill (about 20g)
1 heaped tspn caraway seeds
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 tspn salt and a good grind of black pepper
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
For the optional sauce please see below
Heat a small frying pan and briefly dry-fry the caraway seeds, watching that they don't burn. Finely chop the dill, including the stalks, reserving a few fronds for garnish. Pour the buttermilk into a bowl, add the crushed garlic, the caraway seeds and dill and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
If you are using breasts, remove the mini fillet from the base and slice the remaining chicken lengthways into similar sized pieces. Mini fillets need no further preparation.
Put the chicken in the marinade, mixing well to ensure it's thoroughly coated, then cover and place in the fridge overnight. If you really want to plan ahead, pour it all into a sealable bag and put it in the freezer - it will marinate as you defrost it in due course.
Put the seasoned flour on a plate, give the chicken pieces a shake to divest them of excess marinade, and coat lightly with the flour. Keep the remaining marinade if you'd like to make it into a sauce.
Heat the oil to sizzling in a frying pan, reduce the heat to medium and fry the chicken pieces until they are golden. You may need to do it in batches. Don't over-cook them, or they will dry out.
Remove to a warm plate and allow to rest for at least five minutes before serving, garnished with the reserved dill fronds (or in my case, having run out of dill, with bronze fennel).
To make the reserved marinade into a sauce, add a walnut-sized knob of butter to a pan, stir in a tablespoon of plain flour and cook gently for a minute or two to make a roux. Slowly add 130ml of warmed milk and stir until thickened, then stir in the remaining buttermilk marinade.
Once amalgamated, bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook for six to eight minutes, until cooked through (the marinade contains raw chicken juices and salmonella is nobody's friend). Add a small squeeze of lemon juice and a tablespoon of cream. Check the seasoning and serve alongside the chicken.