Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Best Pan Fried Chicken & a "Grown Up" Italian Toastie

A long title for an important post. First up, I'm going  to be sharing my recipe for the best pan-fried chicken ever. Now, don't hear the world "fried" in there and think that this in unhealthy - pan fried simply means to cook it on the stove with a little bit of oil, in this case, olive oil. Obviously you can't cook a piece of chicken without any fat to lubricate it a bit - you'd end up with a charred piece of meat stuck permanently to your pan - the goal is to use a healthy fat, like olive oil or rapeseed oil (the best you can find/buy) and stick to cooking with that. 

So. Back to the chicken. I make chicken this way all the time - you can use boneless skinless thighs (my personal favorite), or chicken breast (which is what I had on hand this time). It's incredibly important to choose organic, free range chicken. Forgive me for getting preachy, but there is simply NO excuse for buying anything else. If you want to save cash, go for the skinless boneless thighs - loads of meat and less than half the cost of the breast - OR buy a whole chicken for the cost of two breasts and break it down yourself, using this handy video as a quick guide. 

The first thing you want to do is butterfly and/or pound out your chicken. It sounds complicated but basically means you make 2 simple cuts to open the breast out like a book, and if you're unsure about how to do it, just skip to the next step. If you want to give it a go, jump on over to YouTube and take your pick from loads of tutorial videos. 

Cover your chicken with nonstick/parchment paper (I don't use plastic wrap in my kitchen) and give it a few gentle whacks with a rolling pin (empty wine bottles work great too) until it's the same thickness. Don't pound it thin - you only want it to be the same thickness, so just give a couple whacks to the thickest part of the meat and you should be good to go. 3/8" is a good measurement - don't worry about being precise, just aim for a little less than 1/2" thick. 

Now, for seasoning. Sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, garlic powder, dried italian herbs (basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary), and paprika. Sprinkle liberally over both sides. 

Put about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a stainless steel or cast iron pan over medium heat (you can read more about why I don't use nonstick pans here) and cook your chicken for 3 minutes on each side. Turn the heat off, put a lid on the pan, and wait an additional 3 minutes - however if you use an electric stove, remove the pan from the heat at this point. 

Slice and put over salads, into sandwiches (like the one below), wraps, or just eat it on its own with some veggies on the side. I promise you, it will come out juicy and flavorful every single time. Want to make it for taco night instead? Nix the dried Italian herbs and sprinkle on some ground cumin and chili powder instead. 

Ok! Now we're ready to assemble a truly badass chicken sandwich. My husband actually dubbed this "the best sandwich [he'd] ever eaten", so there you have it. 

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