This delicious chicken dish is silky and flavoursome. You can, of course, make it with skinless, boneless cuts, but the result is not nearly so enjoyable.
- 8 large free-range chicken thighs (organic if possible), bone in and skin on
- 2 garlic bulbs, pulled apart, skins on
- Sea salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 12 black olives
- 1 teaspoon salted baby capers, rinsed and drained
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
- 100 ml (3½ fl oz) good-quality red wine vinegar
- 40 g (1½ oz) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped
- Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
- Freshly ground white pepper
Place the garlic cloves in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil. Drain and repeat. This makes the garlic mellow and sweet.
Season the chicken with salt. Drizzle a little olive oil in the base of a frying pan large enough to hold the chicken pieces in one layer. Place the pan over high heat and add the chicken, skin side down. Reduce the heat to medium, then add the garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Shake the pan to avoid sticking.
Cook the chicken for 10 minutes, moving the pan every few minutes so the garlic caramelises on all sides. Turn the chicken and cook for 8 minutes or until it is cooked through (large chicken pieces may take longer). Divide the chicken among four plates.
Add the olives, capers, tomatoes and vinegar to the pan, and simmer until the vinegar has almost gone. Add the butter and swirl the pan to make a sauce. Add the parsley, a squeeze of lemon, if desired, and a good grind of white pepper. Make sure you check the seasoning. Spoon the garlic, olives, capers and butter sauce over the chicken and serve.