This is one of those weeks where I feel like I barely have time to breathe. I am overscheduled to the max and I have nobody to blame for it but myself. Oh well! Planning meals for a week like this makes things even more challenging. Timing is key, and some nights are just meant for ordering pizza or hitting the drive-thru. I can’t do this every night though. I’d go insane. I’ve figured out that there are a few recipes out there that I can whip together in just about the same amount of time as it would take to bake up a frozen pizza. This is one of them.
I came across this recipe a few years ago in Fine Cooking, one of my favorite food magazines. I’ve made it a few times and every time I do, it’s a hit! Whether you’re cooking for two or ten, it’s pretty simple. Some of the prep work, like pounding out the chicken breasts and making the dressing, could be done ahead of time. If everything is done at once, the meal can still be on the table in less than 30 minutes.
I started by making an easy vinaigrette from some diced shallot, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic and olive oil. Once that was whisked together, I tossed some sliced tomato in the dressing and let it marinate while I worked with the chicken.
It was just the girls and I at dinner that night, so I pounded out two chicken breasts, in between two sheets of waxed paper, until they were about 3/8 of an inch thick.
Then, I quickly dredged the chicken breasts in an egg wash and coated them with seasoned breadcrumbs.
Once that was done, I was ready to cook up my chicken! The chicken had been pounded out so thin, that after just a few minutes on the stove top, it was perfectly browned and crisped on the outside, tender and moist on the inside.
I added some fresh arugula to the marinated tomatoes and tossed them together. The salad topped the chicken and that was it! Done! I had a beautiful, fresh dinner in no time flat. It’s yet another recipe I need to move into my “I Really Need to Make This More Often” file. Judging by the clean plates my daughters left (Well, one didn’t touch the salad. Can you guess who?), they’d appreciate it if I made it more often as well.
Adapted from Fine Cooking
- 1 Tbsp. minced shallot
- 2 tsp. red-wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 small clove garlic, mashed to a paste with ¼ tsp. salt with the side of a chef's knife (Just smoosh it together over and over again. It will make a paste!)
- kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 ripe tomato, cut into 8 wedges
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6-8 oz. each)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup dry Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 4 cups loosely packed arugula, washed and dried well
- Whisk together the shallot, vinegar, mustard, garlic paste and pinch of pepper in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing comes together. Add the tomatoes to the vinaigrette and set aside until ready to serve, up to 2 hours.
- Pound the chicken breasts to ⅜ inch thick between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Season with some salt and pepper.
- Beat the egg in a wide shallow bowl until smooth. Pour the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Dip a chicken breast in the egg and then dredge in the breadcrumbs, coating well and shaking off any excess. Lay the breaded chicken on a piece of waxed paper and repeat with the other breast.
- Heat the butter and 2 tsp. of the olive oil in a heavy, large (12 in.) skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough that a breadcrumb sizzles in it, add the chicken breasts, keeping them separated. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Season each breast with a little salt and pepper and turn over with tongs, making sure the golden crust stays put. Cook on the second side for 1-2 minutes, until golden. Don't let the crumbs get too dark. Season with salt and pepper. When done, remove from the heat and lay the chicken on some paper towel to drain for just a minute.
- To serve, toss the arugula with the tomatoes and dressing. Arrange the chicken on your serving plate and top with a tall pile of the salad.
- Serves 2 - But can be easily multiplied!