Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chicken Piccata for Two

Over the weekend I watched an episode of one of my favorite cooking shows on the Food Network, Barefoot Contessa, and she reminded me of a recipe I haven't made in forever - chicken piccata. So, while C went to the gym after work, I played cooking show...

(not really, I just wanted to play with the timer on my camera)

Most recipes for chicken piccata call for capers, but I didn't have any on hand so it worked out that her version did not.

Click Here for Printable Recipe

It's pretty much just three simple steps...

(1) make two chicken cutlets and keep them warm in the oven

(2) make a lemon-white wine sauce

(3) drizzle sauce over said chicken

photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com (we were too busy eating to take a final photo)

Her complete recipe:

2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jalapeno Poppers

We had tried making poppers once before using a batter and it was pretty much a disaster (you know one of those snowballing disasters in the kitchen where you just keep adding ingredients hoping it will get better... yeah, that kind). Anyways, C came in from the garden the other day with a big pile of peppers so we decided to give it another shot. This time we kept it simple and it turned out fantastic.

- Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds.
- Fill each side with cream cheese
- Dip in milk and roll in flour. Chill for 10 minutes.

- Dip in milk and roll in a mixture of italian seasoned breadcrumbs and japanese panko breadcrumbs. Chill for 10 minutes or until ready to fry.
- Fry 2-3 minutes or until pepper is softened and crust is golden brown.

easy peasy.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pork tenderloin cutlets with a fig-habanero gastrique

One of the plants in our garden that is still going strong even though it's November is our habanero pepper plant.

These tiny beauties pack a punch - one of the hottest peppers in the world - but their flavor is very distinct and very delicious. (please be sure not to rub your eyes while working with these peppers... or better yet, wear kitchen gloves!)

This recipe has a long name, but it's really very easy to make: Grilled Pork Tenderloin Cutlets with Fig-Habanero Gastrique.

Click Here for Printable Version

Gastrique: a thick sauce produced by a reduction of vinegar or wine, sugar, and usually fruit.

1½ pounds pork tenderloin cutlets
½ medium red onion, diced
1-2 habanero peppers, minced
½ tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1½ cups dry white wine
¼ cup fig jam or preserves

Prepare pork:

  • Put pork between sheets of plastic wrap and flatten with a mallet or rolling pin to make 1/2-inch-thick cutlets.

  • Prepare glaze:

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add onions and habaneros. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 10 minutes or until onions begin to caramelize.

  • Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree the mixture using a hand-held blender or food processor. Cool.

  • Pour ½ of fig mixture over pork ; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  • Grill pork:

  • Remove pork from marinade and grill over medium-hot coals just until nicely browned; about 5 minutes per side. Brush pork with glaze and grill 1 minute more on each side.