Chicken breasts make for a quick meal that comes together easily for almost any occasion. Whether baking them as meal prep or pan-searing for a late night dinner, poultry is convenient in every way — except for taste. Even when taking the time to marinate the chicken breasts, they may turn out bland. For a well-seasoned meal, make sure you go skin deep.
After covering your chicken breasts in herbs and spices or marinating them for some time before cooking, it's always surprising when your meal doesn't taste very flavorful past the first bite. Yet, with a coating of skin encasing the breast, how is the seasoning supposed to permeate into the meat? No matter what spices you use, if you don't manage to get them underneath that skin, only the surface of the chicken breast will have any flavor.
Seasoning underneath the skin doesn't require much maneuvering; once you slip your fingers or a utensil under the skin, you can gently lift it away from the breast. When you're in there, you can cover the meat with all the seasonings your heart desires. Dried herbs and spices are always a good idea since it's easy to rub them in. Compound butter is another solid choice. All you need to do is take a slab of it and coat the chicken breast in the fat. Not only does compound butter deposit a good amount of flavor, but the fat lends some much-needed juiciness to the lean protein.
Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken
Try These Other Methods For Well-Seasoned Chicken Breast
Aside from seasoning under the skin, there are other methods to get a nice, even distribution of flavor on the chicken breast. Perhaps one of the most effective techniques, Hasselbacking your chicken breasts will make every bite juicy and crispy. Similarly to Hasselbacking a potato, the approach requires thinly slicing the chicken breast almost but not quite all the way through, creating deposits where you can easily stuff spices.
Fill in between the slices with a marinade, or stuff the spaces with things like peppers, cheese, tomatoes, and your favorite aromatics. The method is also a great way to get chicken that's satisfyingly crispy. However, the method works best when baked or roasted.
If you want to pan sear your chicken breast, opt for a flavor injector. As one of the drier parts of the chicken, the breast will benefit from the additional moisture that comes from the technique. When making the marinade, make it as watery as possible. While powdered spices mixed with water might be able to pass through the thin needle, a broth or stock is the best choice. Make a quick umami vegetable stock to inject into either directly the chicken breast or just underneath the skin. When pan-frying it, coat it in a simple mix of flour and spices and heat it in olive oil.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.