Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sooo In LOVE with Tuscan Chicken

I can not believe that I canned my brains out towards the end of this last summer and have totally forgotten all about using any of my hard-earned gems! What the Heck? Well, I opened a quart jar of my canned Italian Stewed Tomatoes for this dish and Boy, was I happy with the flavor and aroma! If I ever needed a nudge to jump back into the canning world in the near future, this was it. Just opening the jar and having all that aroma wafting out was intoxicating and a renewed, proud moment was enjoyed. I felt none of the aches and pains of standing on my feet for hours at a time, trying to get hundreds of pounds of produce canned because I have no self-control when it comes to fresh food and trying something new! I come from a long line of family members that view new experiences as all or nothing! My Grandma tackled sewing and started making pillows first. Well she went from one color of fabric to marching right back to the craft store and purchasing every shade of this fabric (all 10 of them) just so that she could go home and make these pillows, with a small checker print, cross stitch threaded x's in cream colored, heavy thread and then proceed to sell them. How she found people to sell them to, I have no idea! Grandma and Grandpa were never hurting for money by any means. She just always had to be making a profit. The sewing projects escalated from there. Then there is Dad! He wanted to learn fine wood working. He taught himself how to make the most beautiful wood boxes that all came together by tongue and groove and any holes were filled from the sawdust sanded from the wood prior. This sawdust was mixed with a little wood glue and the slight wood imperfections were filled. The Cherry and/or Maple wood boxes were about 18 inches wide, 10 inches across and 4 inches deep. The inside of these beautiful, smooth, perfect boxes were coated with crushed velvet. The clasp on the front was small, delicate and gold. My father perfected the one and continued making them until he was burned out. I can remember as many as a dozen. These boxes took hours of patience and care. He then went on to bigger and better fine wood working projects. A lot of fond childhood memories!
See, I come by it naturally. Not as grand as their's, but go until you have exhausted your intrigue or continue and grow.

Okay, back to my Tuscan Chicken Dish. This dish is everything in one dish: sauteed chicken cutlets topped with fresh spinach and drizzled with lemon aioli. The recipe came from The Tasting Room in Omaha, NE. I had so much fun making all the different steps that created the one flavorful *and*colorful dish. My regret is that I plated this in a dish that was too busy and took away from the food. I was tired by this time and just wasn't thinking. This was so good that I know I will be making it again very soon.


(Tomato Confit Ingredients)

1/2 c. mayonnaise

4 T. fresh lemon juice, divided
5 T. olive oil, divided

1/3 c.chopped shallots
3 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch of dried crushed red pepper

1/2 c. dry white wine

2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1/2 c. all-purpose flour

Pinch of Cayenne pepper

3 large eggs

1 c. grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese, divided

2 T. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

3 T. butter

4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut horizontally in half

2 (4-inch) pieces baguette, halved horizontally (I used a sour dough Baguette)

4 c. fresh spinach (about 2 ounces)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for drizzling)


Whisk mayonnaise and 3 T. lemon juice in small bowl.

Heat 3 T. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, and crushed red pepper; saute until shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add wine; simmer until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice. Simmer until thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Season tomato confit with salt and pepper. Cool.

DO AHEAD: Lemon mayonnaise and tomato confit can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Set rack in rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan). Whisk flour and pinch of cayenne pepper in wide shallow bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs, 3/4 c. cheese, and basil in medium bowl. Sprinkle with pepper. Melt butter with remaining 2 T. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, dredge chicken breasts in flour, shaking off excess. Dip into egg mixture to coat. Transfer chicken to skillet and cook until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Place on prepared rack. Transfer to oven to keep warm while cooking remaining chicken.

Place baguette slices, cut side down, in any remaining butter-oil mixture in skillet and cook until toasted, about 1 minute. Transfer to work surface; spread toasted baguette slices with the tomato confit. Place 2 chicken cutlets in each of 4 shallow bowls. Drizzle with some of lemon mayonnaise. Top with spinach, drizzle with remaining 1 T. lemon juice, olive Oil, and any remaining lemon mayonnaise. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese; season with salt and pepper. Tuck 1 baguette slice inside each bowl.


Peter M said...

What a n interesting,each part relies on the other to complete the dish.

Deborah said...

I really wanted to can this year, but all I got around to doing was some peach jam. You'll have to share your canning recipes with us, too!!

Elsie said...

After looking at all your beautiful food photos and reading some of the recipes too, I am soooooooo hungry now.

Lovely blog and I will come back to "dine" with you (and also try a few of the recipes.