As I continue to cook, I continue to learn new things.
My favorite lesson from last night – not only does butter make everything taste better but with a high enough heat it is the secret ingredient to get chicken cutlets to brown.
When I moved from Northern Jersey to Denver, Colorado after college, aside from a ridiculous case of culture shock ( I am not sure who it was worse for – me or the people who encountered the Tri-State Area transplant?), I was shocked how hard it was to find good Italian food.
I tried every recommendation and while they were decent, I could not find anything close to my favorite Italian spots from home.
What is a Jersey girl to do? Take matters into her own hands. No this does not mean become an unnamed Real Housewife of New Jersey and toss a table in a restaurant. If no one can cook it for me, why don’t I just try to cook it for myself? I mean c’mon how hard could it be to make chicken parmigiana? Answer: really hard.
I tried every recipe in the book. I breaded and baked it. Not good. I breaded, then fried in olive oil, then baked it. Still not good. How did they get that amazing crispness on the chicken cutlet without it getting soggy from the sauce and cheese? The answer, I realized last night, heat and BUTTER!!
Its a Giada themed week in my house – last night’s butter discovery happened when I was making her Chicken Piccata. Delish!
I took boneless skinless chicken breasts and made them into cutlets using my fav technique – slicing them in half lengthwise then flattening a little more with a mallet. Oh the time I used to spend pounding those chicken breasts to get them flat only to have them bounce back – no more!
Sprinkled them with a little salt, pepper, and dredged in flour. Then it came time for the moment of truth, could I get them to brown in the pan? I added 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, turned up the heat to medium high and watched with bated breath. Voila . . .
Ok white chicken breasts, browning in butter doesn’t make the prettiest shot but can you see them browning? So exciting!
When the chicken breasts were browned I removed them from the heat. Then I added in some chicken stock, lemon juice, and capers, while scrapping up all the flavorful brown bits on the pan. Cooked the chicken a bit more, and added some butter to create the sauce.
We chose to balance out the buttery deliciousness on one side of the plate with some roasted broccoli on the other.
While it might not be one of the best looking meals I’ve cooked so far I have to say it is up there with one of the best tasting.
The test we use in our house to rate meals: “If you ordered this in a restaurant would you be happy?” The answer last night: a unanimous yes!