Monday, October 20, 2008

Pan-fried chicken

When is something so plain worth the bother of posting in a blog? When it's so simple and versatile that it could be used in a multitude of recipes. This pan-fried chicken certainly isn't a main course; its only spices are salt and pepper. However, it's the perfect addition to a salad, pasta dish, or pizza.

I had a friend in college that would never eat chicken. I'm not sure why, but she absolutely loathed it. I'm sure it was some sort of quirk from a bad chicken experience as a child (why I'm still so iffy about broccoli), but things turned around when I made a pasta with this chicken in it. I've gotten other compliments on this recipe, and I'm not entirely sure why. I think the simplicity of the flavors, along with the seared exterior guaranteeing a moist interior, help return the flavor of chicken to...chicken. There are too many recipes out there that disguise chicken in layers of spices, sauces, and cheese. This recipe returns to the basics that are too often forgotten.

2 chicken breasts
4 T. flour
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Sprinkle freshly ground salt and pepper over one side of the chicken. Pat it down with your hand gently so it sticks in place. Flip and repeat. Be liberal - too often people are afraid of adding too much salt, and end up not adding enough. Remember it's a flavor enhancer. Dust both sides of the chicken with flour, enough for a good coating. Be careful while handling the chicken so you don't get any cross-contamination. In a medium pan, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and put over medium-high heat. Once warmed, add the chicken breasts. Cook for 5 minutes before flipping, and cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Cut into the thickest part of the chicken and ensure there is no pink remaining before removing from the heat. Pat down the chicken gently with a paper towel to remove excess oil.

If you wanted to add herbs and spices, you could. However, I think just the salt and pepper bring out the flavor of chicken that's been ignored for too long. Make sure you add this austere alternative to the deep-fried variety next time you're adding something extra to a dish.

Pan-fried Chicken

A return to the way chicken should taste; this uncomplicated ...

See Pan-fried Chicken on Key Ingredient.

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