Time to make supper and a chicken breast sliced thin and quickly sautéed with a lemon and parsley sauce sounds like the perfect entrée tonight. Once again, proof that simple food can taste amazing. This dish falls under my pantry simple recipes.
Chicken breasts should thaw in the refrigerator overnight. We all know that. But what if I didn’t plan ahead? (‘Cause that never happens….)
Word to the wise: please don’t leave frozen chicken out on the counter to thaw. It’s not safe.
Pull a chicken breast out of the freezer and seal it in an air-tight plastic bag. Try to get as much air out of the bag as you can. Put it in a bowl not much bigger than the meat itself and put that in the sink. Turn the faucet on just a little — cold water only — and let it run over the chicken for 30 minutes (1 lbs) to 60 minutes (2 lbs).
I repeat: cold water only. Hot water will thaw the outside faster but also start to cook it and, more importantly, raise the temperature to where bacteria starts to form.
If there’s more than one piece of meat in the bag, separate them as soon as it becomes easy to do so. Then reseal the bag and keep at it.
Now, I’ve seen people say just fill the bowl and change the water every half hour. Yes, that works but it’s a bit slower and my adult A.D.D. rebels. The water conducts the cold away from the meat but, in so doing, gets colder itself. Light steady running water will refresh the water in the bowl as it spills over and speed up the process.
Start with good quality, humanely-raised meat. #realfood #nofactorymeat #changehowyoueat
The Joys of Everyday Food
Like so many kids growing up, I played Little League® Baseball. And perhaps the greatest lesson I learned from those years was that a game is most often won on base hits. One after the other.
Not home runs. (Granted, sometimes those can help!)
But I think it’s important to remember when you’re cooking. Not every dinner has to be help! my significant other’s parents are coming for dinner level of complicated and dramatic goodness. You’ve heard me say it many times: good ingredients + a little know-how = great food.
Day in, day out, I can do that.
“When you are at home, even if the chicken is a little burnt, what’s the big deal? Relax.”
— Jacques Pepin
The goal is to have reasonably thin pieces of meat to cook. And there are a couple of different simple ways to get there.
One is to pound them thin. I learned this as paillard but now most people say escalope or just scallop. (Which I find terribly confusing, but ah well.)
Basically, you’re pounding a piece of boneless meat thin with something heavy. That might be a traditional meat pounder or the flat side only of a meat tenderizer mallet. It can also be the flat bottom of a small skillet. You do you. (Did I mention how relaxing this is after a frustrating day at work?)
If the chicken breasts are on the smaller side, then use them whole. If they’re larger (like mine today), then look for where the two muscles are joined and tease them apart with the tip of your knife. You’ll end up with two pieces per breast, one larger and one smaller.
Either way, put each piece of meat between two pieces of plastic and gently pound away until they’re all done and roughly the same thickness. Tip: I like to use that plastic bag I thawed the meat in — just open the sides up with your knife.
Method two is to carefully slice them thin. This works even better if they’re still a tiny bit frozen. Regardless, carefully use a sharp knife and — cutting away from you, not towards — slice off the top half of the chicken breast. Then, very often, you’ll need to flatten the pieces a bit anyway. But it’s a good head start.
Finely chop your parsley. (Save a piece for garnish.) Why parsley? Because that’s what I had. You could also use a different herb, especially thyme or sage or rosemary if you wanted.
Cut a few very thin slices from the lemon for garnish and juice the rest.
A glug of olive oil in a fry pan along with a tablespoon of butter. Bring to medium-high heat and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Cook each piece of chicken for one or two minutes on each side. Don’t overcrowd the pan, it’s okay to do it in batches.
Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the lemon juice, the chopped parsley, and what’s left of the butter to the pan. Stir it well and let it cook for a minute. The lemon juice should help deglaze the browned bits (a.k.a. fond) from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken back to the pan and coat each piece in the sauce.
Serve with a couple of side veggies.
Chicken Breast with Lemon and Parsley
Chicken breast, sliced thin, quickly sautéed, with a lemon and parsley sauce. Once again, proof that simple food tastes amazing. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons chopped herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme h/t to Paul Simon
- salt and pepper to taste
Slice and / or pound the chicken into thin fillets between two pieces of plastic until they are of even thickness.
Season the chicken with some salt and pepper as desired. Both sides.
Heat the olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a fry pan over medium-high heat and swirl the pan to evenly coat the bottom.
Cook each piece of chicken for one or two minutes per side. Don't overcrowd the pan, cook in batches if needed.
Remove the chicken. Add the lemon juice, chopped herbs, and the rest of the butter to the pan. Heat through, stirring, for a minute or two. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
Add the chicken back to the pan to coat in the sauce. Plate the pieces and drizzle the pan sauce over top. Garnish as desired.
Because I used olive oil and a lemon, I’m guessing some would call this Mediterranean food. I think the bar probably has to be a bit higher to do that. I think it’s universal, myself.