Yesterday, we had a late lunch at an Italian restaurant that features la vera pizza Napolitana, real Neapolitan pizza. Needless to say, I ate more than my share of these thin-crusted beauties with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, and basil, cooked in a wood-fired over for just a few minutes.
On the way home, we had to stop by our local supermarket for a few things, and I thought maybe I’d pick up something for a later that night just in case we were hungry. Pre-washed Mesclun salad was first and then I saw some thinly cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
I must admit that I’m not a fan of this cut. I almost always prefer chicken with its skin on and bones in. But when time, and calories, are the deciding factors, these breasts can be turned into a nice dish.
It was now rather late, and we were both somewhat hungry. Given the time, I wanted über simple and thought I would use the breasts for paillards or cutlets.
Recipes abound for these both in cookbooks and on the internet. Some call for breading, others for rolling and stuffing; some prescribe marinating or applying rubs to the meat. But I wanted simple, straightforward chicken and it was late. So here’s what I did.
2 Thin cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
1 Tbs Unsalted butter
1 Tbs Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon juice, Balsamic vinegar for finishing the chicken and dressing the greens.
Washed mesclun salad greens or arugula
1. Place a thin cut, boneless, skinless chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap. With a meat pounder or the side of a cleaver or even a heavy skillet pound the breast until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Season one side with salt, pepper, and a cumin. Repeat this step for each breast.
Note: You must keep hygiene in mind when handling raw chicken. Be sure to keep your hands and work surfaces clean when handling and pounding the chicken.
2. Over medium to medium-high flame, heat a skillet large enough to hold one or two pounded breasts in a single layer and add about a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter to the pan. When the butter stops sizzling, place the chicken in the pan, seasoned side down. Season the top side of the breast with salt and pepper.
3. Cook for two minutes and then flip with a pair of tongs and cook for an additional two minutes. Juices should be running clear. Cooking times will vary depending both on the heat and the thickness of the chicken. Avoid moving the chicken when it is in the pan; it will release when it’s ready.
4. When done, remove the breasts from the pan and place over a bed of mesclun or other greens that have been lightly dressed with olive oil and some lemon juice. Do not over dress the salad.
5. Drizzle the breasts with some extra virgin olive oil and just a few drops of a thick balsamic vinegar and serve with a lemon wedge to be squeezed on the chicken and the salad.
Wine Pairing: Cotes du Rhone for red; Macon Villages for white.