Adjusting to a new kitchen has been a challenge. Every time I set out to make something, I realize I’m missing ingredients or utensils that I took for granted in my full-time kitchen in Southampton. The biggest challenge, however, has been learning how to cook (competently) on an electric range.
The burners become hot fairly quickly, but not as instantly as the 22,000 b.t.u. gas flame I’m used to. When you turn the burners off, the heat lingers for quite a while, so once a dish is done, it must be promptly removed from its burner. When I blanch vegetables, which I do almost daily, I’ve learned to blanch in much smaller batches than I’m accustomed to–lest the water take too long to return to a boil, resulting in soft, mushy vegetables. Therefore, the process of prepping for a meal is a bit more time-consuming. This comes as no news to most people, but actually putting it into practice on a daily basis has been challenging.
Enough complaining–if I could cook in a tiny NYC kitchen for 25 years (albeit on a tiny gas range), I can adjust to cooking on an electric range in sunny Florida for a few months . . .
My local supermarket is now Publix and I’m favorably impressed with the array of groceries and products that are available here, although I miss several of my staples from Citarella Market at home. Publix, combined with the weekly farmers’ market should be enough to keep us well-fed throughout the winter.
This weekend, I decided to make a simple main course of chicken scalloppini with white wine and shallots, along with porcini risotto and sauteed broccoli di rapa. The ingredients for the main course are simple–thinly sliced chicken breasts, shallots, parsley, butter and white wine.
The chicken breasts get dredged in flour, then lightly sauteed on both sides in a combination of butter and oil, along with chopped shallots. White wine is added and reduced slightly, then broth is added and reduced for a couple of minutes. Parsley is added at the end to preserve its green color and flavor.
Normally I would serve this meal Italian-style, with the risotto as a first course on its own, then the chicken and vegetables second, but this evening, I thought the rice would benefit by the sauce from the chicken, so I served everything at once on the same plate.
Chicken Scaloppine with White Wine and Shallots
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly
3 tbls olive oil
1 tbl butter
1 medium shallot, finely diced
1/2 c white wine
1/2 c chicken broth
2 tbls chopped fresh parsley
flour for dredging
salt and pepper to taste
While heating oil and butter in a large skillet, season chicken well with salt and pepper, dredge in flour and shake off excess.
Gently slide chicken breasts into hot skillet, along with shallots. Saute on each side for about 2 minutes (no need to brown–the goal here is gentle cooking).
Add wine and reduce for a minute, until syrupy consistency results. Add broth and cover for a minute. Uncover and cook for another minute or two. Sprinkle on parsley.
Can be made to this point, then kept warm for up to 10 minutes while you finish sauteing vegetables, etc.