When I think about celebrating Valentine's Day my mind immediately goes to chocolate and dessert but hey, we still have to eat, at the very least, to balance out a massive sugar rush!! So in the spirit of romantic food, I offer up this very chic dish of sauteed thin-slice chicken cutlets with a white wine sauce in which grapes have been slightly cooked, garnished with sliced almonds. It'll make your loved one love you even more and you'll love it because it's a snap to prepare! And only you have to know that of course!!
Granted I cook a lot--more than most people probably, but if I have to spend the entire day in the kitchen fixing a romantic meal, I doubt I'm going to be feeling very romantic afterwards! More likely, I'll be falling asleep on the couch while my husband watches the movie we picked out! That's what I love about this dish. It looks so pretty and fussy, but it's easy enough to make on a busy Tuesday night!
There's just something about grapes to me that's special. My Grammie always brought them to me when I was sick as a kid and stayed home from school. See, she grew up in Europe and fresh fruit was a delicacy so bringing someone grapes was a real sign of love. And love, is what we're celebrating this week!
Basically, all you do is dredge the chicken in seasoned flour and pan-fry them in a little bit of butter. Because they're so thin, they cook in just a few minutes.
Then you make a simple white wine pan sauce that's full of goodies like shallots, garlic, chicken broth and sweet green grapes which provide the ideal contrast to the tang and bitterness of the wine and garlic.The almonds you sprinkle on top (and they'd be good toasted too) provide the perfect textural crunch! Each bite is a delicious mix of tender chicken, juicy grapes, crunchy almonds and tangy wine sauce.
Serve this with some rice or pasta and a salad and you're good to go! And one more thing that I love about this dish is that it's very light, which leaves you plenty of room for the all important Valentine's dessert!!
Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with White Wine Pan Sauce, Grapes and Almonds
Makes about 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 30 minutes
For the Chicken
2-2 1/2 pounds thin-slice chicken cutlets (if you can't find thin ones, cut thicker ones in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and pound them thinner)
4-5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
Salt and black pepper to taste
For the Pan Sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons whole milk (you can use 2% but don't go any lower than that or the sauce won't thicken enough)
1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 pound green grapes, sliced lengthwise
For the Garnish
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds, raw or toasted
1. To make the chicken: On a large plate, mix the flour with the salt and pepper. Coat each piece of chicken with the flour mixture and transfer to a plate. Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat and saute the chicken in batches, 2-3 minutes per side, turning them when the underside is golden brown. When chicken is cooked through, transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Don't wash out the skillet.
2. To make the pan sauce: Add the vegetable oil to the skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Saute the shallots for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until softened. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon to loosen any browned bits. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer. letting it cook for about 5-7 minutes, until there's about 3/4 cup of liquid left.
3. Add any of the juices from the cooked chicken that have settled onto the plate where they were transferred to into the skillet. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and cornstarch and whisk into the skillet. Let the sauce simmer for 1-2 minutes more until it thickens a bit. Add in the grapes and let cook for 1-2 minutes--just to warm them and soften them a bit.
4. Plate the chicken onto the plates. Top with the pan sauce and grapes, then sprinkle with the almonds and serve immediately.
Note: Chicken with the grapes and almonds is my own recipe (if you can call it that). Pan sauce is based on a recipe from The Best Light Recipe by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated. I tinkered around with amounts and ingredients.