Every once in a while I get the opportunity to make a restaurant-style meal for dinner. Mostly this involves bedtime cooperation from the younger kids, the absence of the older ones, and the availability of ingredients. In other words, it doesn’t happen too often.
On this occasion, I happened to have a number of chicken breasts as a basis. You don’t always need crazy ingredients to make a new dish. Sometimes, the combination of what you have is crazy enough. A quick rummaging through the pantry and refrigerator turned up some white wine, leeks, potatoes, and panko breadcrumbs.
Sounds like dinner to me.
Setting up for breading and pan frying follows the same basic procedure — only the ingredients change. You’ll need three bowls, two trays, flour (or other dusting ingredient) and eggs (or other binding ingredient, but usually eggs). The breading is recipe-specific, so for this preparation the panko goes into the third bowl.
Bread the Cutlets
Pat dry the cutlet. Dip the cutlet into the flour. Coat both sides evenly, then shake off the excess flour. Coat the cutlet in egg on both sides, then coat in panko, pressing lightly so the panko adheres to the cutlet. Rest in the first pan for five minutes.
Pan Frying the Cutlet
Add enough oil to the pan so that it almost reaches the edge of the pan. Heat the oil and fry the cutlets until golden brown on both sides, flipping every two minutes so the chicken cooks evenly. Set the cutlets aside on the second pan lined with baking parchment.
Making the Reduction
Spill out any excess remaining oil in the pan. Return the pan to the fire, add wine and deglaze for a few minutes. Add garlic, cranberries, orange marmalade and ginger. Cook over medium heat while stirring. When the reduction is thickened, and the cranberries are softened, remove the pan from fire.
Set a mound of small dice roasted potatoes in the center of the place. Lay the chicken breast up on the potatoes at and angle. Drape seared leeks on the other side of the potatoes. Use a spoon to drizzle the reduction over the chicken breast and on the plate.
In a separate pan I pan-roasted the potatoes. Once the potatoes were done, I cleaned and heated the pan to 285°C (525°F). I sliced the leeks lengthwise and put them in the dry pan face-down.
Instead of chicken use sole or scalloped veal.
Instead of cranberries use apricots or golden raisins.
Instead of ginger use a small chile pepper or hydrated sun-dried tomatoes.
Instead of white wine use peach schnapps or triple sec.
Instead of orange marmalade use peach jam.
Instead of roast potatoes use beets, sweet potatoes, turnips, polenta, roasted red onions or rice.
Instead of leeks use asparagus, celery, or romaine lettuce.
Instead of panko breadcrumbs use crushed cornflakes or regular breadcrumbs.