Sunday, August 8, 2010

My secret to the smoothest possible work week.

Nope. It's not what you think...  It has absolutely nothing to do with technology. :)

I've told many people about this little fast weeknight recipe, constantly promising to give out the recipe and I never have... BUT we made it tonight, I remembered to snap some photos... so here it is (don't bother reading on if you are vegan or vegetarian, sorry).

It's a variant of "Cotoletta alla Millanese" that I first had in Milan and then again in Little Italy, NYC. The version I had in Milan was topped with mozzarella, "rocket" (arugula) and the freshest cherry tomatoes I've had. Super simple. Super fresh. <3

I love Italian food for it's simple, fresh ingredients and healthy, quick preparation. I make this meal at least once a week, usually when I'm dog tired and need something healthy and fast. We've been trying to reduce the amount of wheat, gluten and starch we eat and this meal is fast and healthy.

"Chicken Cotoletta"
(recipe makes one)
prep time: 5-10 minutes
cook time: l0 minutes

-flour (or rice flour or fine breadcrumbs or cornmeal)
-boneless skinless chicken breast (one per person)
-cherry, grape or heirloom tomatoes
-fresh mozzarella (in water)
-fresh baby arugula
-avocado (optional)
-fresh basil (optional)
-balsamic vinegar
-olive oil
-fresh ground pepper
-fresh ground sea salt

Take one boneless, skinless chicken breast and pound with a meat hammer into a very thin cutlet. I usually pound it to between 1/2 - 1/4 of an inch. Pound lots of times with a small amount of pressure, instead of a few times really hard. You'll break the fibers and pound straight through.

Dredge the flat cutlet in a mixture of flour, pepper, salt and a smidge of paprika. I've substituted rice flour, breadcrumbs and cornmeal for this step. All of them work. No need to dredge in eggs or milk or butter prior to the flour coating, it's just to hold the pounded fibers together and create a light crust when you put it into a hot pan.

Melt some butter (or olive oil or grapeseed oil, depending on how you like it) into a pan. I use cast iron because it stays super hot between filets if you are making two, but any frying pan will work just fine. When the butter (or oil) is super hot, drop in your floured filet and cook 3-5 minutes per side until brown (cooking time depends on how thin you pound the filet).

Once it is cooked, immediately transfer it to a plate and start building on it. The order is important.

First, squeeze one quarter of a lemon directly onto the filet. Then add a few slices of fresh mozzarella directly to the filet so it starts to melt.

Then pile on as much arugula, cherry tomatoes, avocado, basil or whatever else you think would taste good (I'd suggest that basil and avocado are mutually exclusive, but feel free to do what works for you).

Once you have your mini tower of excellence, finish it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and grind on fresh pepper and sea salt.

YUM. We haven't gotten tired of this healthy and fast meal so far, and it's been a life saver for those nights when I want healthy but have no energy.

Try it, and let me know what you think!

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