Skin-On Chicken Breast is similar to and simpler than doing the duck breasts from my last post. Have your butcher remove the bone from the breast leaving the skin in place or you can do that yourself.
Put them on a cutting board and cover with Saran. Pound them to an even thickness – about ¾ inch.
Blot them dry and season with salt and pepper and refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 hour. Bring them to room temperature before cooking.
Add a little oil to a cold pan. Put the breasts in skin side down and turn the heat on to medium. Weigh down the breasts so the skin makes full contact and browns evenly – it should take about 6 – 8 minutes.
With a sharp knife, lightly score the fat cover on the duck breast diagonally in a cross hatch pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat.
Season on both sides with salt and pepper and allow the breast to sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
Place pan over medium heat. Place the breast skin side down and turn up heat to medium-high. Put a weight on it to assure full contact with the pan. I use an old iron. You can use a dish with a soup or tomato can on top. Let it sizzle for about 8 minutes (for a1 lb. breast) until skin is crisp and golden. Take a peek about half way through to see how dark it’s getting and adjust the heat if necessary.
Turn breast over and cook 6 to 8 minutes more. If you have one, check temperature with an instant-read thermometer. It should read about 125 degrees when it’s done. It’s not chicken so don’t be afraid to serve it rare.
Let the breast rest on a warm platter for about 10 minutes before slicing.
A properly cooked duck breast can be eaten as-is, but if you’d like a semi-sweet sauce try this one.
“IT’S TIME TO COME TO GRIPS WITH THE SUGAR-ON-GRITS DEBATE,” 4/11/16 (click here for the full story) Mississippi Sun Herald
This is important – SUGAR ON GRITS ???
When I was drafted, at my first breakfast in an Army mess hall I saw what I thought were people eating mashed potatoes with their eggs. I was wrong. I asked what that white stuff was and was told it was grits. I had some and thought they were great. I even wrote my mother to tell her “they serve polenta for breakfast in the Army.” I’m a New Yorker with a warn spot in my heart for grits but as a ‘’northerner” I don’t feel right about weighing in on this sensitive issue. What do you think? Sugar or no sugar. Let me and the Mississippi Sun Herald know how you feel.
Here’s another home style dish that you don’t see on a restaurant menu. Our mother served soup or some type of minestra for dinner every evening along with a second course. Monday pasta patate, Tuesday pasta piselli, Wednesday pasta lenticchie, etc.
Pasta Lenticchie ala Piccola Nicolina
Pick over the lentils and rinse them in a scolo pasta (colander). Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a 3-quart pot and add the carrots, garlic and celery. Sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the rinsed lentils, salt and pepper and stir. Add enough water to cover plus an inch and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender (about 40 minutes). Add the ditalini or broken spaghetti and cook for 8 minutes.
Note: always taste as you are cooking. Lentils and broken pasta vary in size therefore the cooking time may vary.
Green pepperonciniinfused oil is good to drizzle on top of each serving. Please do not sprinkle cheese on this.
Heat olive oil in pan and brown one side of steak (or veal or pork chops). While its browning sprinkle top side with S&P, finely chopped garlic and dried oregano. When the underside is brown turn the meat over making sure that there is enough oil so that the garlic doesn’t burn. Immediately cover with a large can of crushed tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.
Optional – Add a small can of drained baby peas (or fresh or frozen and cook accordingly) and maybe some chopped parsley (one or the other) in the last 5 minutes.
You can serve this alone, as a main course or use some of that sauce on a side of pasta.
Some restaurants include peppers in this sauce – DON’T! (and no cheese either).
I don’t have any recipes for this post but since we eat with our eyes, the pictures should be enough. Stephanie is a friend of ours who recently got married. Her wedding reception was a spectacular feast.
Cacciatore is Italian for “hunter” and alla cacciatora means “hunter-style,” or how my grandmother would pronounce it in her Salernitano dialect, cacciadode. The idea of this recipe is that a hunter could prepare it in one pot on a camp fire in the field. The meat was whatever game that was hunted, mushrooms and rosemary were picked nearby and the other ingredients, wine, garlic ,etc., were easy enough to carry. Alla cacciatora works well with domesticated fowl as well as game birds and rabbit.
The Cacciatore you get in American Italian restaurants is usually done with a heavy tomato sauce. This version is much more basic and simple.
Chicken or Rabbit Alla Cacciatora
Brown seasoned chicken (or rabbit) in oil and remove.
Brown mushrooms (any type available) in the fat and oil in the same pot.
Add garlic, rosemary and tomato. This isn’t a “red” sauce. The tomato is just there for moisture. You can use ½ cup of water instead. Return meat to pot.
Raise heat and add red wine vinegar and cover and steam for 5 minutes.
Add red wine, I use Chianti, and simmer for 15 minutes uncovered.
This is more about the sauce than the chicken so if you have your own Southern fried chicken recipe, feel free to use it. If not, try this:
Start with a 3 ½ to 4 lb. chicken. You can simply quarter it or cut it into the standard 8 pieces (wings, thighs, legs and breasts) then cut each breast in 2 or 3 smaller pieces and cut the left over back into 2 pieces.
If you want to brine it, add ½ cup of salt and ½ cup of sugar to 2 quarts of water. Add chicken and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Blot the chicken dry and then dredge it in flour mixed with some salt and pepper. Fry it in about ¾ inch of peanut oil, turning as necessary until golden brown – about 20 – 25 minutes or until internal temperature reached 160o. Keep the cooked chicken in a low oven until you’re ready to serve it.
Now for the sauce –
Just mix this all together and serve it with a pastry brush instead of a spoon. Nashville Hot Fried Chicken is traditionally served on a slice of white bread with pickle slices.
Mac and Cheese Italian Style is Italian comfort food and a cure-all, from a cold to a queasy stomach. If you’re a big fan of Kraft’s orange mac & cheese, maybe this one isn’t for you.
Bring 5 cups of water and chicken stock (½ & ½) to a boil. Add 2 pats of butter and 4 tbsps. oil. Cook the pasta until almost done. Whisk in a beaten egg and finish cooking. When serving, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with pecorino – as much as you like.