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When you look into your refrigerator and see nothing but scraps – little bits of this and that – don’t be dismayed! There is a terrific meal right there at your fingertips!
I usually buy a box of spinach each week but – just in case – I always have frozen spinach or kale ready to thaw out. I also always seem to have cherry tomatoes lingering in my wood bowl – a handful of them – looking sad, lonely and shrivelled.
Ok – now let’s put all of these tidbits together and make that great meal!
Let’s talk about chicken breasts. If you are buying fresh, that’s great! Get the butcher to make it into scaloppine where each breast is sliced thinly into 3 flat slices. If you have frozen chicken breasts, perfect! Don’t go get fresh, just use those up. Remember, your freezer is NOT a black hole, use the stuff that’s in it!
Now, how do you cut your chicken breast into scaloppine? Place a boneless, skinless chicken breast, with the tender removed, on a cutting board and press it flat with the palm of your non-knife hand. Using a sharp chef’s, boning, or fillet knife, slice the chicken breast horizontally into two to three even pieces. It helps if you do this close to the edge of the cutting board. Next, place the sliced pieces between two pieces of parchment paper. Then, using the bottom of a sturdy eight-inch skillet, gently pound the chicken. When pounding, go slow and steady to avoid making holes. Rather than moving the pan directly up and down, use slight lateral motions to gently coax the chicken into shape. The goal is an even thickness and form.
Ok – let’s get cooking!
Chicken Scaloppine with Tomato, Mushrooms and Spinach
This is the perfect do-ahead chicken dish that feeds a crowd and pleases everyone!
- 2 large chicken breasts cut into scaloppine, you will have about 6 pieces
- about ¼ cup potato starch, cornstarch, arrowroot powder or any flour of your choice
- kosher salt for sprinkling on each piece of chicken plus more for each vegetable
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- About 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 6 button mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
- 8 shitake mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic smashed and chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2-3 cups washed baby spinach
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock, chicken soup or bone broth or water in a pinch
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- Prepare a large flat surface with parchment paper, place the potato starch (or whatever you are using) on one side of the paper.
- Lay the chicken pieces on the rest of the parchment and season both sides with salt and pepper. Dip each seasoned piece of chicken in the potato starch and shake off the excess.
- Place a large oven safe serving dish near the stove. Heat a heavy duty pan over med high heat, add about 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil, place 3-4 pieces of chicken in the pan. Do not crowd. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side and remove to the serving dish. You do not need to cook it all the way through, it will cook as it sits. Repeat with more oil and more chicken until all the chicken is browned.
- Add more oil to the pan, add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until shrunken and browned. Remove them from the pan and add them to the dish with the chicken.
- Add the garlic, cook until lightly browned, add the tomatoes, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, add the spinach, sauté until wilted. Add this mixture to the dish with the chicken.
- Add the wine to the pan, let reduce for a minute, scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock, let cook for 3-5 minutes. It should boil, add the lemon juice. Pour this mixture over the chicken and arrange the vegetables around the chicken in a presentable way. Serve right away or refrigerate covered overnight.
- If you need to reheat it: Bring to room temp for at least one hour before reheating and then reheat in a 300-400˚F oven (depending on what else is in the oven) until heated through, about 30 minutes.