Thanks to Daniel Klein's Chilled Carrot Soup with Coriander Yogurt & Daylilies recipe, which I posted this week at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine, I am obsessed with toasted coriander seeds. The fragrance off the hot skillet is at once fresh and warm, totally sexy, everything I want now that spring is finally showing its sheepish head. (I put on a bathing suit and sat in the sun today. I almost wept for the warmth. It has a been a long Minnesota winter, friends. Brutally long.)
So after devouring the soup's coriander yogurt garnish, leaving hardly a drizzle for the soup, I starting poking around for more toasted coriander seed ideas. I zeroed in immediately on taklia, a Middle Eastern condiment, usually comprised of toasted garlic, toasted coriander seeds, cayenne pepper, and butter. Yes, yes! Commonly the garnish for melokhia (Egyptian herb soup, although I had it first at a Lebanese restaurant), it's also delicious on pretty much everything.
The garlic and seeds together are crunchy, and salty, and toasty-lemony-heaven. You have to try it. I have a couple of other taklia posts up my sleeve, so stay tuned...
First up, just simply sauteed chicken. I'm a (chicken) thigh girl, but John is not...so I make sure the breast at least has skin for crunch and flavor. Take the meat off the bone yourself (not difficult) or even better, make the butcher do it.
As I ate half the taklia right out of the pan (insert need for self control, gah), sauteed spinach with a hint of orange sounded like a just-right foil for butter, garlic, coriander, and crunchy chicken. I had leftover pickled orange marmalade from the Corner Table CSK Roast Chicken Sandwich recipe, but you could use marmalade from a jar, of course.
Chicken with Taklia (Coriander Seeds & Garlic Toasted in Butter) and Sauteed Spinach
2 Tbsp. coriander seeds
6 cloves garlic
5 1/2 Tbsp. butter, divided (4 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 Tbsp.)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 skin-on, boneless chicken breast halves
1 lb. spinach leaves, chopped a bit if large
2 Tbsp. orange marmalade
freshly ground black pepper
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add coriander seeds and toast until fragrant and a little brown, just a couple of minutes. Transfer seeds to a mortar & pestle and crush/grind.
Mince garlic, with a couple of generous pinches of salt, into a paste.
Return small skillet to medium heat. Add 4 Tbsp. butter to the pan and when melted, add garlic. Saute until garlic is just starting to turn golden. Stir in coriander seeds and cayenne pepper and saute for a 1-2 minutes more, until garlic is lightly golden brown. Transfer right away to a small bowl so the garlic stops cooking. Season with salt to taste and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the butter and oil. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the skillet and brown well. Turn the chicken skin-side-up and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Return the skillet to the stove top. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm. Remove all but 1 Tbsp. of fat from the skillet. Heat the pan over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp. of the taklia and orange marmalade to the pan. Stir up any pan drippings, then add spinach to the pan with a little sprinkle of salt. Saute until just-wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Slice chicken breasts and serve with spinach and taklia. Store leftover taklia covered, in the fridge.