Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Muscles Not Guaranteed

Chicken Florentine is divine.

I suppose if spinach ain’t your bag, baby, then perhaps you disagree.

But for those of you who are sweet on spinach, please check out my formula for fantab Chicken Florentine.

I think the secret ingredient of shallots is what makes the sauce taste so yum yum.

Spinach has always been close to my heart. I vividly remember eating it at my Mommom and Poppop’s house on Fourth Street. We had dinner at Mommom’s a lot, especially on Friday nights. Mommom’s awesome eats were always followed by “Solid Gold,” “Dallas” and Stella Dora cookies with the best cup of tea ever. Doesn’t everything taste better at Mommom’s?

If spinach was a side dish on the menu or the topping on my Mommom’s rockin’ white pizza, my Poppop would tell me without fail, “Suzie, you’re going to get muscles like Popeye with all that spinach you’re eating.” I seriously believed this and so my scrawny, asthmatic, sickly, unathletic self ate pounds and pounds of spinach thinking that I would wake up the next day as Popeye or preferably Wonder Woman or Jem, who is truly outrageous.

Granted, spinach has tons of iron and calcium so it’s obviously super great for your bod. But it’s clear now as an adult that major body and image transformation requires exercise, a great wardrobe, starvation and/or lots of plastic surgery. Eek.

I think of Poppop’s words every time I make Chicken Florentine.

Anyhoo, check it out. I hope you dig it.

Chicken Florentine
Makes four servings

1 lb. (about 5 or 6) thin-cut chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper
½ cup flour, for dredging
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped,
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 pound fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
½ lb. spaghettini
Two to three ladles of pasta water

Fill a wide pan with water. Place spinach in pan. Place on burner over medium heat. Cover and bring to simmer. Cook until spinach is wilted. Drain spinach in a colander. Return to pan. Add 1 Tbsp. butter, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until spinach is coated in butter. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook spaghettini according to package instructions. Reserve two cups of pasta water in a large bowl.

Once pasta is cooked, drain.

Place flour in a wide dish for dredging. Dredge chicken by placing in flour and coating each side.

Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a second large pan. Brown chicken, about five minutes each side. You may need to cook the chicken in two batches if it doesn’t all fit in the pan.

Remove chicken to a plate. Cover with lid or aluminum foil to keep warm.

Return pan to medium heat. Add another 2 Tbsp. of butter. Once melted, add garlic and shallots. Cook for about three to four minutes, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of a pan with a flat-edged wooden spatula.

Add wine. Reduce for two minutes. Add cream or half-and-half. Cook for about two or three minutes. Sauce should thicken a little. Season with salt and pepper. Add a few ladles of pasta water to the sauce.

Toss half the sauce with reserved pasta.

Return chicken to pan and heat through. Top with spinach.

(You may also top with fresh chopped parsley if desired.)

Serve with parmesan cheese.


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  2. Jem IS truly outrageous! Truly truly truly! Glad you got the marled cardi! Bummer about the black glitter pocket one, though!