By Jessica Roy Inspired by the warm sunny weather that graced us over the weekend, I was really in the mood for a bright and sprightly dish that would be perfect for a dinner outdoors. Warm weather creates a natural craving for a bit of citrus -- a zesty bite on the tongue. In this recipe, chicken breast cutlets are tenderized into thin medallions and lightly browned in a skillet. All that delicious flavor left in the pan from browning the chicken creates a beautiful flavor base for this sunny sauce. Artichokes brighten the plate with a little Mediterranean influence.
A few tips here, when tenderizing the meat, be sure to apply gentle pressure with the mallet, and sandwich the meat between layers of plastic wrap so that you don't end up with "hole-y" chicken. Also, keep an eye on the heat in your pan: it has to be nice and hot to create an even brown. You should be able to smell the essence of the olive oil when it's ready. Be sure to shake any excess flour off the chicken breasts before they head into the pan. Otherwise, you'll end up with lots of burnt floating flour in the pan when you go to make the sauce. The goal here isn't to bread the chicken, but rather to add a little texture and encourage a nice golden brown. Finally, if you think that the acidity of your sauce is a little much, add a pinch or two of sugar to balance things out.
Chicken Cutlets with White Wine, Lemon and Artichokes
4-6 chicken breast cutlets
1/4 c. flour, more as needed
1/3 c. white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 c. water
1/2 yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 artichoke hearts, diced
1 tsp. sugar
olive oil, as needed
salt and pepper, as needed
1. Cover a cutting board with plastic wrap, and lay the chicken breasts on top. Cover the chicken breasts with another layer of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, gently tenderize the meat until the cutlets are about 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, and season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides.
2. In a medium skillet, bring enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan to medium-high heat, but don't allow to smoke.
3. Pour the flour onto a plate, and season with a bit of salt and pepper, toss with your fingers. Coat each chicken breast cutlet in the flour, and shake off any excess. In batches, lay chicken into the skillet and allow to brown for 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken over and brown the second side. Do not over crowd the pan, or the chicken will not brown. Once cooked, set aside on a plate tented with aluminum foil.
4. Once the chicken is cooked, pour off any excess oil from the pan. Deglaze pan with white wine, and add lemon juice and water. Bring to a simmer, and add onion, garlic and artichokes. Allow to reduce until 2/3 of liquid has cooked off. Stir in 1 tsp. sugar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. To serve, liberally top the chicken cutlets with artichoke sauce.
Jessica Roy is a specialty chef and caterer, food writer and chef instructor, and owner of Shiso Kitchen in Somerville, where she teaches classes. Follow her at http://blogs.lowellsun.com/yourpersonalchef.