Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the olive salsa for the chicken topping, slice the root end off the entire head of garlic and turn it upside down, wrap it in aluminum foil and mold the foil so it supports the garlic to allow the cut end to stand upright in the oven. Pour about 1 teaspoon olive oil on the garlic so it slips between the skin and the cloves and wrap with the foil so it is enclosed. Roast for about 1 hour and set aside until it is cool enough to handle.
In a small bowl combine the tomato, basil, parsley, peppercorns, olives and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Gently squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the skins into the mixture. Fold everything together and set aside to let flavors integrate.
For the rice accompaniment to the chicken, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir in the basmati rice, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper, allowing rice to toast for a few minutes. Then add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer covered and undisturbed for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
While the rice is cooking begin the sauce for the steak. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, and saute the shallot until it becomes translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are tender and give up their juices. (While the mushrooms are cooling, begin sauteing the bacon in a separate skillet for the potatoes.) Add the merlot and cook for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate small bowl, make a slurry with 1 tablespoon water and the cornstarch, then add the tomato paste and Dijon mustard and mix thoroughly until smooth. Add this mixture to the pan of mushrooms along with demi-glace and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat down to medium low, and allow to reduce and thicken.
While the mushrooms are cooking, heat the oil in the deep-fryer to 375 degrees F or according the manufacturer's instructions for potatoes. Saute the bacon strips in a skillet until crispy. Remove to paper towels to drain and cool to room temperature. Drain excess bacon fat from the skillet leaving a coating in which to saute the onion. Cook until the onion becomes translucent. Deep-fry the baby potato slices until golden and drain on paper towels. Transfer them to the pan of onions, and crumble in the bacon. Toss in the scallions and season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F for the steak, if you are finishing in the oven.
In a large saute pan, heat the chicken stock over medium-high heat. Add the basil, tarragon and parsley, bring to a boil to integrate flavors, then reduce heat. This is your poaching liquid. Season the chicken breasts generously on both sides with salt and pepper, rubbing the seasoning in, and place the chicken in simmering poaching liquid. (Remember, you are poaching, not boiling. The liquid should be kept at a simmer.) Poach chicken until cooked through, about 10 minutes, turning breasts midway through cooking period. Remove to paper towels to drain.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet with oven-safe handles. Season the steaks with walt and pepper. Sear for about 2 minutes per side undisturbed (to let seasonings integrate into the surface of the meat) and then to your preferred level of doneness. Transfer the entire skillet to the oven to finish (about 10 minutes for medium-rare) They can also be cooked on a grill. Let steaks rest, then slice into 1/4- inch thick slices.
On half of the serving plate, spoon some basmati rice, top with a piece of chicken, and spoon olive salsa over chicken. On the other half of the serving plate, spoon some potatoes, top with a "fan" of steak slices (about 3 ounces of steak or an amount equal to half of a strip steak, per person) and drizzle sauce over sliced steak. Garnish the plate with haricots verts.
2007, Robert Irvine, All Rights Reserved.