Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chicken Milanese with Brown Butter Orzo and Spring Greens

I love pouring through cooking magazines, websites, blogs, books ...just about anything I can get my hands on. In so many magazines, they give you preset menu ideas, sometimes helpful sometimes limiting. I admit it's rare that I actually go through and make the entire collection of dishes they recommend for a meal (there are just so many other good ideas out there!) but I hadn't worked with orzo or made chicken palliards before, so I thought I'd give this a shot. The orzo especially was a revelation. You prepare it much like you would a risotto - which initially frightened me a bit. However, though you saute it a bit first like a risotto, it cooks up in just 15 minutes, which is fabulous! None of that tedious stirring either. Glad to have gotten over my fears and given this a try. It's definitely now a household favorite.

We also served this with our very own container-grown greens. It's the first time we've tried growing anything besides herbs and I must confess to being proud of our success. We'll see how the rest of our container 'garden' fares for the rest of the season, but it's definitely off to a good start!

Chicken Milanese with Brown Butter Orzo and Mixed Spring Greens

3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced shallots
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Dash of sugar
2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cups packed spring mix salad greens
2 lemon wedges

1. Combine juice, vinegar, shallots, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and sugar; let stand 15 minutes.
2. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.
3. Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a shallow dish. Place flour in a shallow dish. Place egg white in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Dredge chicken in flour; dip in egg white. Dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place chicken on a wire rack; let stand 5 minutes.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick (I prefer to use cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat (or med-low heat for the cast iron - don't let the pan get too hot - you can see evidence of this wee mistake above on the 'well' browned chicken ;) Add chicken; cook 3 minutes. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes or until browned and done.
5. Add 2 teaspoons oil and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to shallot mixture; stir with a whisk. Add greens; toss gently. Place 1 chicken breast half and 1 cup salad on each of 2 plates. Serve with lemon wedges.

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