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Monday, May 24, 2010

~A Little Poultry Wisdom~ A sagely simple cure for the chicken doldrums

A little while ago, I volunteered to create some basic recipe lists for my parents and a few friends.  The Brown Butter Salmon was one such list-making inspired recipe.  Today's is another one of those "I remember... something involving food" recipe adaptations, this time from Foodnetwork tv.  I took some of the ratios (I think) and what few ingredients I could (almost) remember and began my experimentation.  Just like the pears last week, I think what caught my eye more than anything was the method.  This recipe is what made the list in its final form:

~Sage and Rosemary Chicken Scallopini~
Printable Recipe 

Serves 4 Generously

2 Full Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 C C Grated Gruyere Cheese (any mild Swiss cheese will do)
12 Medium Sage Leaves
2 Teaspoons Rosemary Leaves
1-2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
2.5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
3/4 C Marsala Wine
28 oz Whole Peeled or Crushed Tomatoes (canned)
1 Whole Roasted Sweet Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Fine Chopped Basil

                               Kitchen Tongs

Separate your chicken breast halves and pound out to 1/2" thick between two pieces of wax paper or parchment paper.  Trim any irregular bits from the edges.  You'll want to lay these out on a piece of wax paper with the smooth/intact side down so that when you roll. the rough, frayed stays inside and the clean side stays out.  This helps when you cook and try to turn stuck pieces, releasing without pulling off big chunks of pre-burnt meat.  Lay the flattened pieces out length wise to you and sprinkle with salt, pepper and Gruyere.  Lay three sage leaves, width wise, over the cheese and sprinkle with a generous pinch of rosemary leaves.  Roll up tightly and pin closed with 2 or 3 toothpicks.  if one side seems too loose, just crimp and clip shut with a few more picks.

In a medium-large sauce pan, heat olive oil and one or two crushed garlic cloves over medium heat until the garlic oils begin to become fragrant in the oil. While the oil heats, prep your tomato sauce by blending tomatoes, peppers, cayenne, and Basil until just combined, about 15 seconds.  This blend can be altered with as many variations as you can imagine so experiment with it until you find what meets your taste.  I like it a bit spicier so I end up adding a bit more cayenne and a tiny bit of honey to cut the "green" flavors from the peppers.  These little green flavor sappers and the little red caped heroes are the stars in this weeks...


Thinly veiled and clumsily appointed Superman references aside, we're gonna talk about Carotenoids!  Carotenoids, depending directly on bonding structure and shape, are what give us vibrant yellow, orange, red, purple colors and also act as important chemical precursors for many of the flavors and aromas we love.  Most of us have been told to eat more red and orange fruits and vegetables as they contain more vitamins than lighter colored things but I don't think that most of us understand just how far that connection actually goes!

When we as animals consume carotenoids, especially β-carotenoids, our metabolic activity actually converts them from long chain molecules into short liked Vitamin A in the form of Retinol and other animal forms such as Retinal and Retinoic acid.  So when somebody says "Eat your colorful fruits and veggies because they have lots of vitamins" the reason you get vitamin A actually IS the color!  Pretty cool if you ask me.  Vitamine A production based on vegetative carotenoid pigmentation!  Science!!


Once the oil has reached the right temp and smells strongly, you'll want to remove garlics from the hot pan as they can burn and bring out some undesirable crusty flavors...  Add chicken pieces to brown, 2-3 minutes on a side then remove and reduce heat to medium low.  Deglaze your pan with white wine, scraping all the brown bits from the pan surface and simmer 3 minutes, then add your tomato sauce and simmer a further 8 minutes to bring flavors together.

Turn heat up to medium and add chicken to sauce to cook 6-8 minutes on a side.  Remove chicken to a cutting board and season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove toothpicks from chicken and slice into 3/4" slices.  Serve over Pasta, Rice, Bread, or on its own.


1 comment:

June said...

I loooove this recipe! And before this blog, I've never heard of this before...kudos pastryninja, kudos