This apricot chicken uses fresh apricots two ways: cooked down to a jammy glaze, and roasted as a side to the chicken. Buy high quality chicken and results will always be much better. The skinless boneless chicken breasts are roasted to a juicy perfection. Be sure to keep an eye on the chicken so that it doesn't overcook, and let the breasts rest for 15 minutes before cutting into them, to allow the juices to redistribute.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees, on convection roast if you have it. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper.
Halve all of the apricots by pulling them apart with your fingers. Chop half of them into a small dice. Place the remaining halves on the prepared sheet pan.
In a small saucepan, combine the apricots with all but a teaspoon of the sugar (just hold back on the tablespoons and leave some to top the apricot halves). Add the cayenne, if using. Cook the apricots over medium heat until they are soft and a jammy consistency. Taste, and add more sugar and cayenne, to taste.
Brush the apricot halves with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with sugar. Add the remaining olive oil to a roasting dish that just fits the two chicken breasts.
Place the chicken breasts in the roasting dish and turn to coat them completely with olive oil. Season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the apricot jam glaze over each breast, and coat the tops with the jam, taking care not to use too much of the glaze here. Some of the top of the chicken breasts should be visible.
Roast the chicken and the apricots side by side in the oven. The chicken will cook through in 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breasts. Halfway through cooking, gently brush the breasts with the olive oil and juices in the pan. Check the thickest parts with a thermometer until they reach 165 degrees.
Remove the breasts and apricots from the oven and let them rest for 15 minutes. Slice the breasts against the grain, and serve with the apricots alongside.