This baked boneless, skinless chicken breast is both tender and flavorsome, thanks to a sweet-salty marinade starring honey and a double whammy of mustards (Dijon and dry).
The trick to cooking white-meat chicken so it doesn't dry out? Sear it in a hot pan with a bit of oil. Once browned, flip and transfer into a hot oven (about 350°F) to finish baking. "If you were to cook it completely in the pan," my chef friend Jesse tells me, "the outside might get overcooked before the inside cooks through. You want it to reach an internal temperature of 165°F, keeping in mind that it will continue cooking once you take it out of the oven. I usually take mine out around 160°F and let it finish cooking on the counter." It's important, then, not to go by time, but by internal temperature when deciding how long to bake chicken breasts.
The star here really, though, is the panzanella that goes with. Crunchy-sweet raw corn and toasted sourdough bread get tossed in a punchy vinaigrette of garlic, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes. It's summer on a plate, the perfect accompaniment to honey-mustard chicken. —Eric Kim
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients (olive oil to red pepper flakes) and smother the chicken breast in it. Set aside to marinate, covered, for 10 minutes or overnight.
Heat a cast-iron or oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add some olive oil to the pan, then sear the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side. Flip and transfer to the oven and cook 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breast, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let rest for 5 minutes before carving against the grain (which means perpendicularly to the direction that the meat's fibers run). Meanwhile, make the corn panzanella.
Raw corn panzanella
Pop bread into the toaster. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, mustard, oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Toss dressing with the raw corn kernels. Once the bread pops out of the toaster, cut or tear it into small pieces and toss with the salad. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired, and serve alongside the chicken.
Eric Kim is a senior editor at Food52, where his solo dining column, Table for One, runs Friday mornings. Formerly the managing editor at Food Network and a PhD candidate in literature at Columbia University, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.