May 31, 2011

The Neighbors Wonder About the Smells Above

I am pretty sure the people in the next apartment building just saw me lick my plate. Much like in my old apartment building I guess, when I'd eat outside on my balcony and about seven dramatic licks got my rather large, square plates pretty clean. No restraint? No manners? I think its more like I know I won't eat again until breakfast, so why not get every last bit of it in when I can! Its OK though, because I also think the first dish, in my first blog post ever, should be lick-my-plate worthy.

Tarragon Chicken Paillard

This dish came about as a result of several nights of talking out loud (to myself out on that same balcony I was licking my plate on), and I think the result is worth writing about. With just a small amount of butter and very few additions, the chicken remains moist and juicy, despite its thin appearance. Tarragon is also one of my favorite herbs to cook with; its sweet, licorice scent and flavor make your home smell so inviting. It is subtle, but it gives the chicken a light, almost sweet taste.

Besides turning out to be an elegant weeknight meal, this dish is beyond easy. Five ingredients if you count good salt and freshly ground pepper, and eight minutes total cooking time. As long as you can handle pouring a glass of wine while prepping and waiting for the oven to reach 475 degrees and then the invigorating smell of the tarragon while roasting, I think you've got a delicious go-to meal.

Tarragon Chicken Paillard
* 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
* 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
* 2 Tbsp flour (any works well, feel free to experiment)
* 3 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped (or about 1/3 Tbsp dried)
* salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Brush or the dip the chicken in the melted butter and then season with salt and pepper. Lightly coat chicken breasts with flour, shaking off the excess. I like to sprinkle both sides with a little tarragon before going into the oven for that incredibly sweet smell. Place prepped chicken on a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, four minutes per side, or until very lightly golden in color. I enjoy this with steamed baby spinach and some leftover tarragon or fresh greens, and maybe some brown rice. Serves 2 very happy, very relaxed (barely any prep, barely any clean-up!) people.

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