The Chicken Dance (Chicken Cutlets Meunière)

22 Feb

You know we are frequent visitors to my friend, Pam’s, where the kids play while we fuss in the kitchen and try to reassure one another that whatever inadequacies we think we have as parents are not going to cause permanent damage to said children’s psyches or emotionally cripple them or lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or cause some such long-term catastrophic effect that will require years of therapy and narcotics to overcome.

Foreground: chicken breast, background: browned butter

It’s not all about anxiety. We also talk about our new projects and ventures (I’ll be telling you about some of mine in the next couple of weeks!) and brainstorm ideas for one another. Now that the children are getting older, there is more space and time to dream about a different future and it is fantastic to have people cheering from the sidelines. It’s good fun and of course it all happens in the kitchen.

And then we all sit down to dinner.

The kids have recently developed a new way to show appreciation when they like the food. They get up and dance! This, of course, makes me feel like a rock star (Everybody get your hands up!). So far so good, but last week we had two additional children who were staying over at the table with us. Is there any tougher audience than a collection of other people’s kids?

I tried this adaptation of a chicken recipe from The Minimalist (The man behind The Minimalist is one of my food and writing heroes – Mark Bittman). The only thing minimal about this chicken was the effort and the leftovers; the flavors were big and the chicken juicy and sure enough…all five kids got up and danced! Admittedly, this can become annoying when they won’t sit back down or someone looks like they are dangerously close to mooning the table or they start squealing too. But it is flattering and festive and fun and thus, today’s title: The Chicken Dance…corny, but hey, what’s a little corniness amongst friends?

We had rice, asparagus spears (oiled up and roasted in the oven for 15 minutes at 350°), and salad on the side. Triumph on the dance floor!

Chicken Cutlets Meunière

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about three lbs), pounded down to cutlets if you want them to cook more quickly

Salt and black pepper

About ½ cup flour or cornmeal for dredging*

Vegetable oil for frying (Bittman also suggests clarified butter)

2 Tbs butter for browning (optional)

1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs minced parsley

Heat a 12-inch skillet (nonstick if you’ve got) over medium high for two minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and set up the flour or cornmeal on a plate for the dredging.

Pour the oil into the skillet so it is about 1/8” deep and turn the heat to high. When the oil is hot, coat the chicken thoroughly in the flour or cornmeal you have set up on the plate. Add each to the pan as you dredge. You will probably have to do two rounds.

Cook until the chicken is nicely browned (3-4 minutes on each side if the breasts are pounded thin; 6-7 minutes on each side if they are thick). Lower heat if you are getting scorching!

Meanwhile, melt the optional butter over medium heat until nut brown.

When the cutlets are done, drain on papers towels then transfer to a warm platter, drizzle with lemon, and sprinkle with most of the parsley. At the very last minute, drizzle with browned butter and the last of the parsley.

*For variety, season the flour or cornmeal with your favorite flavors – curry, Italian herbs, herbes de Provence, cayenne pepper – it’s up to you.

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16 Responses to “The Chicken Dance (Chicken Cutlets Meunière)”

  1. kathryningrid March 11, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Another classic! Thanks!

  2. Hotly Spiced February 26, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    What a great family meal and I love asparagus cooked in the oven like that.

  3. Jose Luis February 23, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Great recipe and it looks very easy, I will try it and I’ll let you know.

  4. Natalia February 23, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    “Lower heat if you are getting scorching!” That should be a sayin’ for all cooking, to say nothing of a solid all-around guide to life itself! Seriously, bravo for the useful reminder for those of us who follow cooking instructions to the letter yet sometimes come upon unforeseen developments and freeze and question the very nature of the atom.

  5. ceciliag February 23, 2012 at 5:11 am #

    Oh I love this version, good healthy food for your dance troupe and just what i feel like for dinner too!! .. c

  6. Sandra February 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    We call that dance “the happy food dance” lol Little and big (adult) kids showing appreciation for good eats! Your post made me smile :)

  7. cookiemomma February 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Looks and sounds amazing! Thanks

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy February 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

      Thanks for the visit; these are really worth a try! How was Mardi Gras, Ms. Queen of the crafts?

      • cookiemomma February 22, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

        You’re welcome! lol Mardi Gras was a bit hectic and tired us all out, but fun!!

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  1. Feel like Chicken Tonight? | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - March 30, 2012

    [...] Hot, Cheap & Easy’s Chicken Cutlets Meuniere [...]

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