Bangin' Baked Butterfly Chicken
There’s no better way to get your protein and veggies in one hit, with minimal clean up! Best of all, the flavour combination not only tastes good, but looks good too. Rich red sundried tomatoes paired with the emerald green zucchini and crispy white of the feta – an Italian flag at its best! As good as this combination is, feel free to experiment and use what looks delicious on hand.
- 4 x boneless chicken breasts (see Tips)
- 8 tbsp sundried tomato pesto
- 1 zucchini, cut into 24 thin slices (see Tips)
- 1 ripe tomato, thinly sliced
- 8 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled (approx. 80g)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
2. First up, butterfly your chicken – use the step photos (below) to help you. As chicken breasts are shaped like a half heart, lay chicken breast flat on a plastic chopping board so the outside curve of the heart is facing towards the hand holding the knife. Place your other hand flat on top of it, fingers super straight so the tips of your fingers curl up and away from the breast (safety first!). Starting at the top thicker end, using a sharp knife, slice horizontally towards the centre, but not all the way through. Open up the breast, it should now resemble a full heart shape.
3. Lay chicken breasts open on tray, cut sides up, and spread each with 1 tbsp of pesto, then top with a healthy crack of salt and pepper.
4. Layer left side of each chicken breast with equal amounts of tomato and zucchini slices, followed by 1 tbsp crumbled feta (see step photos).
5. Fold the right side over the left, pulling it a bit further over to ensure it covers the filling.
6. Top each with remaining pesto, feta and another good crack of salt and pepper.
7. Bake at 200°C for 16-23 minutes, or until insides are piping hot and chicken is just cooked through.
Remove from oven and let rest, loosely tented with foil for 5 minutes.
Leftovers: Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Fantastic served as a salad! Simply slice up chicken for easier eating, and toss everything into a bowl along with a big handful of greens. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, and toss to coat. Beautiful!
Butterflying is a really useful technique as it allows any cut of meat to cook quicker.
Slicing your zucchini: Use a mandolin if you have one, to get really nice thin slices. If not, use a very sharp knife and be careful while you slice as thinly as possible (approx. ½cm is perfect). Chop the rest of the zucchini up in cubes, toss with some oil and salt and simply bake on a separate tray along with the chicken for a quick veggie side dish.
Cooking times will vary as to the thickness of your chicken breasts. Check the chicken at around 15 minutes and then bake until cooked through and still lovely and juicy.
Try it with a slice of ham (or prosciutto if you’re feeling fancy!), sliced bocconcini mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.
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