4 (6- oz) skinless boneless chicken breast halves
5/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch non-glass baking dish.
Pat chicken dry and sprinkle all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper . Arrange the pieces in the pan and leave at least 1/4 inch apart in baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
While chicken bakes, toast almonds in a small baking pan in oven, stirring until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a pot on the stove, cook apricot preserves, soy sauce, mustard, butter, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over moderate heat, stirring, until preserves are melted.
After the first 10 minutes of cooking, pour the sauce over chicken and continue to bake until chicken is just cooked through, for another 10 minutes.
Turn on broiler and broil chicken 4 to 5 inches from heat, basting once, until chicken is glazed and browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Serve sprinkled with almonds.
Makes 4 servings.
This is a dish that is rich in taste, and has great contrast of texture - the soft juicy chicken, the rich sauce and the crunch of roasted almonds.