Thursday, March 24, 2011
healthy-ish dinner for three
But when Dan's dad Larry joined us for dinner two Sundays ago, it was following a day where we ate a lovely lunch (and several tasty cookies) at Bouchon Bakery then a pretty rich dinner of steak frites. I woke up the next morning with a food hangover. Which is worse than an actual hangover because you don't even get the chance to go wild.
Anyway, when planning our meal for the evening, I wanted something light, simple, and artery de-clogging. In situations like this, I often make chicken Milanese (pan-fried or simply grilled) topped with an arugula salad and big shavings of parmesan. Which is delicious, but also sort of boring. And then I thought about a chicken dish I made a few years ago that takes that basic idea to a higher level of deliciousness.
The roasted lemons are key, I think. They not only perk up the chicken, they are the small yet impressive sort of detail that edges this dish into dinner party territory. Without being completely bloating, if you're concerned about that sort of thing.
Healthy-ish Sunday night dinner
Sauteed chicken with capers, roasted lemons, and spinach
Roasted sweet potatoes
Strawberries and whipped cream
Adapted from Food + Wine. The original recipe calls for olives as well, but I find that capers provide just enough saltiness--and I love salt. I also forgot the breadcrumbs for some reason this go-round but they are worth including for sure. I have made this recipe with regular and Meyer lemons and find that regular works better, but if you have Meyer lemons on hand, they are a fine stand-in.
(Serves 4 people)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 lemons, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 5 oz. bags baby spinach
2 Tbsp. plain dry bread crumbs
4 6 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
1/2 cup pitted green Sicilian or Spanish olives, sliced (optional)
2 Tbsp. drained capers
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth (or water)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small dice
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the lemon slices on a baking sheet and drizzle the lemons lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the lemons begin to caramelize.
Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet. Add the spinach and cook over high heat, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a strainer; press out the liquid. Wipe out the skillet and heat 2 tablespoons of oil in it. Add the bread crumbs and cook over medium high heat, stirring, until toasted, 2 minutes. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Set aside.
In a deep medium skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour, shaking off the excess. Cook the chicken over high heat, turning once, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the olives (if using), capers and stock (or water) and bring to a boil.
Cook over high heat until the stock is reduced by about two-thirds, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted lemons, butter, and parsley, season with salt and pepper and simmer just until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute. Divide the spinach between plates (or one big platter) and serve the chicken on top, spooning the sauce over everything.