Yes, you can cook chicken in three minutes—and you should. By butterflying and pounding the breasts, this ingredient becomes not only weeknight-speedy, but concentrated in flavor and oversized in surface area, perfect for piling with toppings. I like broiled tomatoes, which become juicy and jammy, tossed with creamy burrata and fresh mint. But the options are endless. Try baby arugula tossed with shaved Parmesan. Or chopped cucumbers and tomatoes with feta. Or smacked zucchini salad. Or sauerkraut and sour cream. Or kimchi and a soft-boiled egg. The recipe serves two, but it can be easily halved or doubled. —Emma Laperruque
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3-Minute Chicken With Charred Cherry Tomatoes, Burrata & Mint
extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 ¼ teaspoons
kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
Heat the broiler. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil. Add the tomatoes, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss with your hands. Broil until charred, juicy, and slouchy. For my broiler, this took almost 15 or so minutes, but broilers vary widely. Check the sheet pan every 5 minutes, and pull them when they look good to you.
While the tomatoes are cooking, butterfly the chicken breasts. Which is just a fancy way of saying: Horizontally halve the chicken breast almost all the way, but stop right before you reach the end, then open the chicken breast like a book. (It should still all be in one piece, but half the thickness that it originally was.) Cover the chicken breast with plastic wrap and use the flat side of a meat mallet (or a rolling pin or a skillet) to pound the chicken breast until it’s about 1-centimeter (or just under ½-inch) thick. Repeat with the remaining chicken breast. Season both all over with the 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
When the tomatoes are done broiling, dump them in a bowl. Add the mint and the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir, taste, and adjust the salt as needed.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. When it’s very hot, add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Now add one chicken breast—it should sizzle loudly. Cook for 1 to 1 ½ minutes per side, until browned all over and the chicken is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining canola oil and chicken breast.
To serve, put each pan-seared chicken breast on its own plate. Evenly top with the tomato salad and burrata. Sprinkle with more salt and drizzle with more olive oil.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.