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Ainsley Harriott’s Lemon and Herb Chicken Flatties with Celeriac Remoulade

With a punchy marinade and creamy celeriac remoulade, Ainsley Harriott's simple lemon & herb chicken flatties make for a light and flavoursome meal.

Introduction

This is a wonderfully simple and appetising meal that’s perfect for a light mid-week dinner, weekend lunch or barbecue. Butterflying the chicken breasts ensures they cook quickly and evenly so it’s ideal for the chargrill. Celeriac remoulade is a French classic and a great way to serve this under-used vegetable. I love its earthy nuttiness with the rich, creamy dressing, although you can make a healthier version by using half-fat mayo and 0%fat Greek yoghurt if preferred. This probably makes more remoulade than you need but it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

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Ingredients

zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling over the rocket
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
½ tsp dried mixed herbs
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs (I use lemon thyme, parsley and basil), plus extra to serve
4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
2 lemons, halved
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A small bag (about 60g) rocket (and French fries if you like), to serve
For the remoulade
1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks or shredded in a food processor
zest and juice of ½ lemon
3 - 4 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
3 tbsp crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp grain mustard
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Essential kit

You will need: a griddle pan.

Method

In a large shallow dish, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes (if using), dried and fresh herbs and season with ½ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper.

Put a chicken breast on a chopping board and place your hand on top. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice horizontally down one side but not all the way through. Open the halves like a book to resemble a butterfly. Cover with a piece of baking parchment and lightly bash to flatten. Repeat with the other chicken breasts. Place the butterflied breasts in the dish with the marinade and baste to coat. Cover and chill to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or longer if you have the time.

Meanwhile, make the remoulade. Put the celeriac in a large bowl and mix in a squeeze of lemon juice. Mix together the remaining ingredients and then stir through the celeriac until well combined. Season and add a little more mayonnaise or lemon juice if needed. Cover and set aside.

Bring the chicken to room temperature 20 minutes before cooking. Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat (or preheat the barbecue) and cook the chicken for 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through and nicely chargrilled. Add the lemon halves to the pan or barbecue cut-side down for a couple of minutes to char.

Serve the butterflied chicken scattered with fresh herbs, with the remoulade on the side and a handful of rocket lightly dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, and the charred lemon for squeezing over. It’s always nice to have a side of French fries too!

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