How to Pan Roast Chicken Breasts with Sautéed Spinach
If you are looking for a great midweek meal that only takes 30 minutes from start to finish, this pan roasted chicken breast dish with sautéed spinach is a good choice. My wife found this recipe created by Italian chef Massimo Bottura in a weekend section of the New York Times.
According to Chef Bottura, the recipe’s two main influences are from his native country of Italy and from the Japanese chefs who work at his restaurant. I like the the way he cuts the chicken breasts in half long-ways and then pounds them thin into cutlets.
Too be perfectly honest, we didn’t slice the breasts in half but did pound them to about ½ inch thick and they still came out great, but next time I will halve them first.
What is Mirin?
Mirin is Japanese sweet rice wine that’s used in a lot of Japanese cooking and a good ingredient to have in your pantry to add both acidic and sweetness to a dish. If you don’t have mirin, you can try substituting rice vinegar, rice wine vinegar (which we used), or little sugar to white wine or sherry vinegar with a little sugar added.
The recipe calls for Parmesan cheese shavings. I find the best way to produce these shavings is with a vegetable peeler.
It also calls for aged balsamic vinegar. I don’t think you need 50 or 25 year barrel aged balsamic but wouldn’t that be nice?
Did you know the first balsamic vinegar's were sold in the United States just 40 years ago, were brought here in 1977 by Chuck Williams, the founder of Williams-Sonoma.
Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Sauteed Spinach
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon miring rice wine
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 chicken breasts skinless
- flour for dredging
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- ¼ cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese shavings
- 8 cups fresh spinach
- salt & pepper to taste
- aged balsamic vinegar
- lemon wedges for serving
- Preheat the oven to 450° F. While the oven is heating up, gather up and prep any ingredients that need to be prepped.
- Place a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the soy sauce, honey, rice wine, ginger and water. Stir, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 seconds. Immediately remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Place the chicken breasts flat on a cutting board and carefully cut in half horizontally to create 4 cutlets. If you are not comfortable cutting the breasts, ask your butcher to do this for you but you can also purchase one of those specialty gloves that help prevent cutting yourself.
- Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten the chicken cutlets to ¼ inch thickness. The purpose of this is to tenderize the chicken meat and assure even cooking. I usually place the cutlet between two piece of wax paper to lessen the post-pounding clean up.
- Add some flour to a shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken cutlets in the flour. Be sure to shake off any excess flour before cooking.
- Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. When hot, add ¼ cup of olive oil. When the oil’s hot, add the chicken cutlets being careful not to crowd the pan. If necessary, cook in batches.
- You’ll start by pan frying the cutlets on one side for about 3 minutes until they are golden brown.
- Add the clove of garlic, flip the chicken cutlets over and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove the cutlets from the pan and transfer to a baking dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken cutlets and then cover with Parmesan shavings.
- Place the baking dish into the oven and bake for 8 minutes or until the cheese melts and just starts to brown. Don’t let the cheese burn.
- While the chicken is in the oven, wipe out the fry pan with a paper towel, return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and garlic clove. As soon as the oil is hot, add the spinach and saute until the spinach wilts. This should take no more than a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, divide up the spinach between four plates, add the cutlets and drizzle both the chicken and spinach with some aged balsamic vinegar.
- Place a lemon wedge on each plate. I like a squeeze of lemon on my spinach but if your guests don’t, it still looks nice.