I think my love for Melissa D’Arabian has been adequately expressed, but in case it isn’t as apparent from the number of recipes I make from her cookbook, hopefully this posting will drive it home. Melissa’s cookbook should be the go-to guide for the college/budget cook. Not only does she give amazing tips on how to shop smart, she shares recipes to use up dying veggies, provides recipe variations, tips on extending the life of your food, and so much more. It is a must for the culinary shelf.
This recipe follows her Chicken Piccata recipe but uses different ingredients.* I followed one of her suggestions and adapted it to fit my pantry.
2 chicken breasts
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. water
1 large shallot
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbs dijon mustard with chardonnay (Melissa uses a grainy mustard)
4 tbs butter
Start by slicing the chicken breasts in half, creating four thin breasts. I made a minor error and wound up with 5, no big. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle both sides with S&P.
Dredge the chicken in the flour and set aside. Heat up the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Brown the chicken, about 6 minutes per side, and then transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil.
Chop up the shallot and add to the chicken pan with the dried time. Stir constantly so those precious shallots don’t burn! Scrape the brown bits off the pan while you stir.
Add the red wine vinegar and water to the pan, continuing to scrape the pan for all the sautéed goodness.
Add the butter and mustard to the pan, stir well and let reduce a little, you want it to be saucy not watery. Taste and adjust with S&P, mustard, or water. I added a bit more than 1 tbs of mustard, this is recommended if you love mustard as much as myself. I also got a little fancy and used pasta water in my sauce.
Rip up some parsley leaves and throw those in.
Add the chicken back to the pan and spoon sauce over top. Serve alongside pasta, orzo, or a salad. The sauce is reminiscent of a dressing.
*Melissa switches up the veg (shallots & thyme), deglazing liquid (red wine vinegar & water), and finishing touches (mustard & parsley) to create new chicken dishes all the time. Try your own concoction!