For those of you who haven't kept up with Olivia Newton-John, the Australian singer-actor has had a whole lifestyle thing going on, including: a women's self-empowerment Web site called Liv.com; part-ownership of Gaia Retreat and Spa in Byron Bay, Australia; a skin care line; and a new cookbook called "Livwise: Easy Recipes for a Healthy, Happy Life" (Globe Pequot Press, April 2012). Newton-John is a breast cancer survivor and has pledged that the proceeds from the latter will go toward the cancer and wellness center named for the singer in Melbourne, Australia.
Nutritionists, friends and chefs from Gaia contributed recipes as well. This one is probably not one of Newton-John's, as those titles begin with "Olivia's." Doesn't matter; she gets credit in my book. The stuffing is light, yet substantial enough to turn a single chicken breast half into a potential two-meal serving (depending on the depth of your appetite).
Serve with thin, steamed carrots and a salad.
CHICKEN WITH GINGER AND ORANGE STUFFING
Makes 3 to 4 servings
1 large navel orange
1-inch piece ginger root
Leaves from 4 stems cilantro
1 small clove garlic
Sea salt or kosher salt
2 /3 cup fresh gluten-free or whole-wheat bread crumbs
1 large egg
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 to 1 3 /4 pounds total)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
As you prep the following ingredients, let them fall into, or place them in, a medium bowl: Finely grate half the zest of the orange to yield about 2 1/2 teaspoons, then cut the orange in half and squeeze its juice into the bowl (1/3 to 1/2 cup).
Peel the ginger, then finely grate the flesh to yield 1/2 teaspoon. Trim the scallion, then cut the white- and light-green parts crosswise into thin pieces. Finely chop the cilantro leaves. Crush the garlic with a little of the salt, using the flat side of a chef's knife to break the garlic down.
Add the bread crumbs and the yolk of the egg, mixing to incorporate and form a stuffing that barely holds together. (Reserve the egg white for another use, if desired.)
Trim any visible fat from the chicken breast halves; if chicken tenders are attached, trim off and reserve them for another use. Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry.
Use a sharp knife to cut a horizontal slit into the thinner side of each breast half (at the center), to form a pocket for the stuffing. Divide the mixture evenly among the chicken breast halves, filling them so generously that each pocket does not close. If you have any filling left over, create 2 or 3 small mounds on the parchment paper.
Season the chicken breasts lightly all over with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over high heat, until the oil shimmers. Add the chicken to the skillet; cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes so that it is lightly browned, then gently turn it over and cook for 2 minutes on the second side. Transfer the skillet to the oven; roast for about 15 minutes, so the chicken is cooked through and the stuffing looks slightly set.
For 4 servings, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting crosswise into thick slices; divide among individual plates. Otherwise, place a stuffed chicken breast on each plate and serve warm.