chicken alla fiorentina
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I know - it should all be cooked in separate dishes, the chicken cut in escalopes, spinach just tossed with butter, and the sauce should not mix with it. But isn’t life too short to wash three different pans when you can wash just one?
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, redundant 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 even 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 damn - perhaps because I don’t do the large scale post-dinner washing up. On the other hand the Weather Man, erstwhile a proponent of artisan washing-up, has now admitted that the dishy saves a hell of a lot of time and work. So yes, I’ll say 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.
- 450-500g fresh spinach
- 1 or 2 chicken breast fillets, depending on their size
- salt and pepper
- flour, for dredging
- 2-3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 100ml dry white wine
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 large cloves of garlic, grated
- 250ml double cream
- a squeeze of lemon
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.
Remove the skin from the chicken fillets and slice it on the diagonal into 10-12 pieces, slightly larger than bite-sized. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dredge in plain flour.
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.
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.
Add the butter to the pan, add the garlic and stir it about for a few seconds. Pour in the cream and boil it down again until the sauce is thick. 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. Place the spinach on the plates, followed by chicken pieces and spoon the sauce over the chicken.