It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing this blog as long as I have, and never told you about one of my greatest talents. (No, not my proclivity for cocktails.) Last night as I made dinner, it occurred to me that I have a remarkable ability to convince myself that whatever I’m making for my family is healthy — even on nights when I am forced to go upstairs to change my T-shirt that has been splattered with the canola oil I used to fry the deliciously crispy skillet potatoes you see above.
Because the potatoes are from my favorite organic vendor at the farmer’s market. And they are technically vegetables. And they are sitting next to a pile of kale. (Remember the Kale Effect? Which is related to Andy’s Broccoli Rule?) And plus, we were having a college friend over for dinner, and when a guest is at the table, the decision to fry the potatoes (instead of roast them) and the decision to use an extra pat or two of butter in the pan-sauce for the chicken (chicken = not red meat) is a no-brainer. Extra fat doesn’t officially register in the arteries when you are cooking for someone else. I can’t believe you didn’t know that.
Last night was a little more buttery than I’m used to, but I will say that as a general rule, I am a firm believer that there needs to be at least a hint of hedonism on the dinner plate — whether it’s crumbled feta in the salad, sour cream on the baked potatoes, or bacon in the brussels sprouts. Because if every meal is boiled kale with quinoa and flax, I have to ask: Where is the joy in life?
Chicken with Wine, Lemon, and Butter Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 boneless chicken breasts, pounded very thin (if they flatten into really large cutlets, you might want to halve them so they’re easier to handle in the pan)
1/2 cup flour or so, salted and peppered, and piled on a plate
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
handful chopped parsley
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken breasts in seasoned flour then add to pan (in batches if necessary), frying about 3 minutes a side. Remove breasts to a platter after they have cooked through and tent with foil to keep warm. Once all the chicken is fried, add lemon juice, wine, shallots, and remaining butter to the pan and turn up heat, scraping the brown bits as you go. Once the sauce has reduced slightly, pour over chicken on platter. Top with parsley.
Skillet Fried Potatoes
I called these Diner Fries because the girls love hash browns so much, but (breaking news!) fried potatoes don’t really need the hard sell with kids.
Peel and chop 8-10 medium potatoes (any kind but the baking/Idaho kind) into pieces roughly shown above. Pour about 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and a generous pinch of salt, and after 2-3 minutes, turn down heat and fry for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Toss them around every now and then so they get crispy on all sides. (I threw in the chopped kale when the potatoes were done. Why get another pot dirty? And plus, the oil made some pieces of the kale all crunchy. Delish.)