Sunday, April 19, 2009

How You Know Spring Is Here: Lemon Chicken Cutlets with Slivered Sundried Tomatoes

Living in New York is a fascinating paradox. You experience the most extreme of highs and lows. This past winter was pretty brutal and had even the most loyal New Yorkers down on their beloved city. And with ongoing (and never ending) construction on our apartment building, the bloom had seemingly fallen off the rose of my own NY love affair.

But then spring came and it was like God singlehandedly dusted the city off himself, picking up the drooping, winter-worn trees and painting lime green buds on them, pumping in extra oxygen to the weary citizens, and releasing the 'beautiful people,' as Kris and I like to call them, onto Bleecker Street to peruse Marc Jacobs and serve as human ornaments.

I can't even tell you how many celebrities we've seen in the past two weeks - I couldn't even remember them all, though I'll try. I saw 'Christopher" from the Sopranos at my local day spa, ran into Tom and Rita Hanks as they were going into a hotel for dinner with the editor of Vanity Fair, saw the 'old lady' Olsen twin at Morandi staring sadly at her breakfast, nearly ran over Edie Falco ('Carmella' from the Sopranos and recently on Alec Baldwin's girlfriend on 30 Rock) with my bike as she was crossing the street to go into The Little Owl, and sat across from Stefan Sagmeister at Norwood having coffee.

And yes, sadly, all those sightings made me forget how miserable I'd been just the week before when it was still 30 degrees and sleeting. But don't worry - I won't sit on my high horse for long. It IS New York after all, and before I know it will find a way to make me feel very small and humble again (such as the time I fell on the subway stairs in front of a hundred people:)

In the meantime, here's a lovely, piquant recipe to welcome the reawakening of spring and life for wherever you live.

Lemon Chicken Cutlets with Slivered Sun Dried Tomatoes
Serves 2 (sauce will be enough for up to 4 servings of chicken if you're feeding more people)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets, pounded flat to 1/4 inch thickness
salt and pepper, for seasoning
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup vermouth or dry white wine
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons of slivered sun dried tomatoes (the kind packed in oil)
lemon slices for garnish, optional

Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides, then dredge in your flour (I use a wide, flat bowl for this or a pie plate.) Shake off excess flour and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat up 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the butter is foamy - after a minute or so - add your chicken. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until you have a beautiful, golden crust (my cutlets were HUGE and took about 5 minutes) then carefully flip to the other side and cook another 3-4 minutes, until cooked through.

Remove chicken and set aside, preferably in a low 200 degree oven to keep warm. Pour off excess fat from your skillet, then dump in the remaining ingredients (the vermouth through the sun-dried tomatoes) as well as the last tablespoon of butter.

Raise the heat, scraping up the browned bits from the pan, then lower back to a strong simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Plate your chicken and spoon the sauce and sun dried tomato slivers over, and garnish with lemon slices and extra sun-dried slivers.

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