4 Airline (French-cut) chicken breasts, skin-on, air-dried
Freshly ground black pepper
Grapeseed or canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fennel pollen or fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 sprigs thyme
Place chicken breasts skin-side up on plate and leave in refrigerator overnight to air-dry.
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Heat 1 or 2 ovenproof sauté pans over high heat. Season chickens all over with salt and pepper. Add enough oil to each pan to just coat the bottom with 1/16 of an inch. When the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium and add chicken breasts skin-side down to the pan, making sure not to move or crowd them.
When the skin turns golden brown and releases easily from the pan (after about 2 to 3 minutes), transfer them to the oven.
Cook until opaque around the edges, about 10 to 15 minutes. The chicken should be approximately ¾ of the way cooked (butter-basting will cook the chicken the rest of the way).
One at a time, set the pans back on the stove over medium-high heat. Flip the chickens and add butter to the pan. When the butter is hot and foamy, add the garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, fennel pollen (or seeds), and baste the chicken breasts until they are cooked. They will spring back slightly when you press on the flesh.
Remove the breasts from the pan and place chicken breasts on a rack over a baking sheet. Pour remaining pan juice over chicken breasts. Let rest 3 to 4 minutes before serving. When ready to serve, slice chicken on paper towel on a cutting board so that the juice does not escape.