Chicken breast cooked on the stovetop
I saw a recipe in this week's Dining Section in the New York Times for chicken that you fry in a pan on the stovetop. It's a recipe by Mark Bittman. I've tried this with a whole chicken, where you truss the bird, saute on both sides and finish it in the oven. With this recipe all the cooking is done on the stove.
Dredge in Flour
I passed the fish counter at Citarella, waived to my friends and headed to the meat counter. I hadn't been there in months but got a helpful guy behind the counter. I picked out a small chicken breast with the bone in that I thought would fit the bill. He said it was too small and found a larger piece. I told him I planned to fry it in a pan - so he recommended cutting the breast in half and then he pounded down both halves. (The first piece would have been enough - I only had the one half. But I liked it so much I'm having the second half tonight!)
Is that butter I see?
Since Mark Bittman isn't a Skinny Gourmet (no offense to Mark) this recipe isn't exactly Mediterranean or skinny. You've got to splurge every so often and I knew I was taking an hour of spin this morning. The recipe calls for two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. I rarely follow recipes to the letter, but I did with this one. Meanwhile, you dredge your chicken breast through flour and shake off the excess.
When the oil and butter are about to simmer you place the breast in the pan. Bittman didn't indicate whether your should put the skin side down first or the bottom. I put the skin side down first. He said to cook it for a good five minutes per side. My breast took longer than that. I just peeked at it and flipped it when the breast was nicely browned.
Mushrooms and red wine
I cooked the bottom for five minutes and then set aside and covered with tin foil. Then I took chopped cremini mushrooms and added them to the pan - make sure you don't rinse it out - leave the juices from the chicken. The recipe didn't call for it but I added a few cloves of chopped garlic. Mark said to use any wine. I only had a bottle of red. It worked fine. As always, I added lemon, too. I'm skipping the lemon tonight - red wine and lemon really don't go together. It still tasted OK, and I think lemon and white wine go well together.
Everyone in the pool!
The recipe called for 1/2 cup of wine and let it reduce by half. I did this and then, following the recipe, I added the chicken back into the pan and let all of the flavors blend together.
One advantage of following someone else's recipe to the letter is that the dish will taste like someone else cooked it. Despite my little misstep with the lemon the dish looked and tasted absolutely delicious. I served it with roasted asparagus, tomato, kalamata olives and garlic.
FYI - this recipe is copied directly from Mark Bittman's column
Extra-virgin olive oil
Put a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes
Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and swirl around
Put about 1/4 cup of flour on a plate. Dredge chicken through, shaking to remove the excess.
Add the breasts to the skillet and cook so there is a constant sizzle but no burning
Cook, turning once, until the chicken is browned on both sides and nearly cooked through, 5 minutes on each side
Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm
Add 1 pound sliced mushrroms to the skillet and cook, undisturbed, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes
With the heat still on medium-high, add 1/2 cup of any wine to the skillet and let it bubble, stirring, unti it is reduced by half, about 2 minutes
Add another tablesppon of butter and cook until the sauce is thickened; return the chicken breasts to the skillet, turn them in the sauce and serve
Garnish: Chopped parsley