Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Grit-ty Chicken and Herb-y Broccoli

Last nights dinner menu consisted of:

Polenta-crusted Chicken in a Balsamic Caper Sauce
Broccoli Tossed in an Italian Herb Sauce
Mashed Yellow Potatoes

I gave up trying to find escarole and broccolini but decided to make this dinner anyway.

This was a fabulous meal, the kind you might serve for guests. I used chicken tenderloins instead of chicken breasts but the results were still fine. Actually a bonus because Rose loved the chicken tenders without the sauce, dipped in "red dip" (ketchup). I ended up with probably three servings and I think two pounds of chicken would have yielded four servings. Or just get four chicken breasts.

Luckily I know that polenta and grits are the same thing. That still didn't help me in the grocery. I had to ask Dinah to show me where the grits were located. Being a true Georgia girl she was able to steer this Yankee to the breakfast aisle and point out that they are right next to the cream of wheat and oatmeal. There was one bag marked polenta but I was looking for "quick-cooking." So if you don't see grits up North, look for polenta.

The sauce is deep and complex. Very good on potatoes also. The balsamic vinegar adds a nice sweet tangy-ness. Dinah described it as having hints of blackberry. I like capers but if they are not your thing, don't leave them out just strain them out when you serve. Since I couldn't find any escarole which is used as an edible garnish on top of the chicken, I just left it out. I think some wilted spinach tossed in the balsamic caper sauce would be good next time around.

The broccoli was outstanding. The herb oil is somewhere between a Caesar dressing and an Italian dressing, easy to make and fresh and light. Don't be turned off by the addition of anchovy paste. You won't taste it. The anchovies add a savory saltiness to the oil. It's the main ingredient in Caesar salad dressing and Worcestershire sauce so you've proabably had it before and didn't mind. I'm sure broccolini would have been good too but I wasn't interested in making a two hour drive to Publix just to find some.


Brook said...

Isn't it amazing how much cheaper grits are than polenta? This reads really yummy. And I have everything except the chicken-do you think it would work with whiting fillets? I could make this for supper tomorrow w/out having to go to the grocery if the fish would make an acceptable substitute. I love anchovies and capers and keep them around for just such recipes. And hey, I like Franz but could you swith out your cd?

Huff Daddy said...

Sure we can change discs. That one just happened to be convenient. Any requests?

I know pork would work better but I guess whiting would work, why not? As long as it holds together. I have not cooked whiting in years so I don't remember how well of a fish stick/breaded fillet it makes?

Brook said...

I have no idea, that is why I was asking you. I thought you knew these things? Hahahaha! I have some in the deep freeze because it was on sale and I think it is the fish they make fishsticks out of-that is the only reason I would have gotten it. Commercial fishsticks have msg and that is a no no these days for me. Too bad because that was one "fast food" meal with freezer fries that I made a couple of times a month back when I worked or had tiny babies. Oh and the music-surprise me. Or I know, put in something you think I'll not like and I'll let you know.

Huff Daddy said...

It's funny, I grew up LOVING fish. We'd catch Lake Erie perch every year. My grandpa also belonged to a trout club so we ate lots of trout. And my grandmother had a cottage on a lake in Indiana so we caught and ate a lot of bluegill. Spent my whole life fishing and eating fish until I went off to college and then it suddenly stopped. I still love it but I bet I order it only a handful of times per year and cook it at home maybe once per year. Strange. The exceptions were any trip to Wisconsin I always get walleye somewhere and any chance I can eat smelt or bluegills or fresh perch I grab it.

I say got for it on the whiting. It's the daring and unknown that makes cooking and/or eating exciting! There really can be an adrenaline rush to food.

If I'm in the kitchen tomorrow I'll scrounge up something new to listen to. Won't be today though.

Huff Daddy said...

Maybe some jazz...

Brook said...

So I took the fish out of the freezer. I'll let you know how it goes. And where is the music?

Brook said...

I'll do the fish like the recipe- minus the sauce and just go with the standard homemade remoulade and some asian style coleslaw. Not up to too much experimantation today. And my veri word is eggies! How funny.