- 4 (6-7 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon butter
Step 1: Thoroughly dry the chicken with paper towels, and season on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the chicken on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator; pat dry again. (Tip: if you don’t have time to do this, pat the chicken dry as much as possible and proceed, although even a quick 15 minutes of this dry salt-and-pepper brine will enhance the chicken.)
Step 2: Heat the oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or sauté pan over medium-low until the oil shimmers. (A drop of water should sizzle.) Place the chicken in the pan, smooth side down. Cook, without moving, for 9 minutes or until the bottom side is golden and the chicken releases easily from pan. Add the butter and swirl to coat, lifting the chicken so the butter flows underneath. Cook for 1 more minute or until the bottom side is deeply golden brown. Flip the chicken and cook 6 minutes more or until a thermometer inserted into the center of breast registers 155°F. Remove pan from the burner (the internal temperature will continue to rise once removed from the heat) and let chicken rest in the pan for 3 minutes. Enjoy!
If your chicken breasts are larger than stated, lightly pounding the breasts to achieve uniform thickness will help the meat cook more evenly and within the stated timeframe. Using a quick-read thermometer at the end will ensure perfect results.