chicken alla fiorentina
Updated: Wed, 12 May, 2021
Chicken alla fiorentina, Florentine style chicken is a divine mix of chicken breast slices served with buttery spinach and drizzled over with creamy white sauce.
Chicken Fiorentina by the book
I know, I know: it should be cooked properly using separate dishes for each ingredient. The chicken should be cut into escalopes and fried in a frying pan; the spinach just lightly tossed with butter in a saucepan, and the cream sauce, cooked in yet another pan, should not mix with it. But isn’t life too short to wash three different pans when you can wash just one?
Dishwashers - good or bad?
Yes - my dishwasher has packed in. It is a fairly controversial appliance. None more so perhaps except a steam oven, but then the latter is just plainly excessive and I really, really dislike the concept. What’s wrong with a pot and a steaming basket? But let’s leave the steaming aside now and return to the dishwasher, the contentious beast.
Is it a waste of time because three quarters of the dishes we use can’t go in it? Not to mention good cutlery. Another appliance using energy, ergo: non-environmentally friendly? Does it actually save water or waste water?
The last point always gets me going: compared to your old washing-up bowl in the sink it certainly wastes gallons but I do shudder at the thought of wine glasses joining diluted gravy and mash in said bowl and then all of it not always properly rinsed. I mean - sharing the bath water in order of family seniority died out in the nineteen-fifties, why should the gross procedure continue for the dishes?
Personally, I don’t give a stuff. Perhaps because I don’t do the large scale post-dinner washing up. On the other hand The Weather Man, an erstwhile proponent of artisan washing-up, has now admitted that the dishy saves an awful lot of time and work. So yes, I’ll say it's worth it, and to hell with the bowls in the sink.
And in the meantime: one pan good, three pans bad. And the chicken tastes as good as cooked in three.
More Italian chicken ideas
It seems they have a unique chicken recipe in most Italian cities! In Florence they marry chicken with spinach. In Milan they go for a slightly more wholesome dish: chicken milanese is flattened and breaded like a schnitzel.
The Romans prefer it with prosciutto and sage, and call it 'saltimbocca' - 'jump in the mouth'. But there is also pollo alla romana, cooked on the bone, in a casserole with tomatoes and peppers - a little (very little) like my chicken ratatouille.
And in Sicily they do pollo alla palermitana, Palermo style, grilled in herby breadcrumbs.
chicken alla fiorentinaServings: 2Time: 40 minutes
Rating: (1 reviews)
- 450-500g (1 pound) fresh spinach
- 1 large or 2 small chicken breast fillets
- salt and black pepper
- plain flour, for dredging
- 2-3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 100ml (½ cup) dry white wine
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- 250ml (1 cup) double cream
- a squeeze of lemon
1. Rinse the spinach and wilt it in a microwave (3 minutes) or plunge it in a pan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain on a colander and, when cool, squeeze as much moisture as you can. Chop it very roughly.
2. Remove the skin from the chicken fillets and slice them on the diagonal into 10-12 pieces, slightly larger than bite-sized. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and dredge in plain flour.
3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Shake the excess flour off the chicken pieces and fry them on both sides until golden and cooked through. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.
4. Turn the heat up and pour the wine into the pan, scrape the bottom with a spatula to deglaze. Boil down the wine until there’s hardly any liquid left.
5. Add the butter to the pan, press or grate the garlic in and stir it about for a few seconds. Pour in the cream and boil it down until the sauce thickens. Add the spinach and toss it in the sauce, then return the chicken to the pan. Make sure everything is warmed through without mixing the three ingredients (chicken, spinach, sauce) too much.
6. Place the spinach on the plates, followed by chicken pieces and spoon the sauce over the chicken.