May 6, 2010

1960´s chicken plate

This lunch cracked me up because it looked like something straight out of the 1960´s; Leave it to Beaver, but in color. I think it must be the peas; they always give a meal that vintage appeal. Really the only unique component of this meal were the peas, believe it or not, as fresh peas are not very common in Spain and cost an arm and a leg in the market. Feeling nostalgic for the snap peas from my mom’s garden, I plunked down close to 5 Euros for a small tray of already shelled peas and I have to say that they were such a disappointment, with none of the sweet summery pea flavor that I was remembering. Anyway, stuck with these disappointing peas, I boiled them for just a second with a pinch of salt and then threw them in a sauté pan with a little olive oil, diced garlic and the leftover portabella mushrooms from yesterday’s dinner. I added a splash of a bottle of light white wine (un-oaked Chardonnay from Navarra) that had been open for a couple of days and some salt and pepper.
Then, I made a space in the vegetables and plunked my chicken breast down in the middle, put a top on the whole thing, and let it cook for about 10 minutes until the chicken breast was cooked through (not pink, not transparent shiny). This was a mistake. What I should have done was not be so lazy and cut the raw chicken into bite-sized pieces before sautéing it. It would have cooked uniformly and stayed juicy and delicious. What I found instead was that the whole thick breast was chewy and overcooked just about everywhere but the inside (which took forever to cook), and none of it had absorbed any of the flavors of the wine, garlic, etc. As you can see in the photo, I could barely cut the thing and had to resort to ripping it apart like a savage beast just to get my fork in it. Luckily, the mushroom mixture tasted wonderful – sweet peas or no – and I had roasted some slices of sweet potato (batata in Spanish) in the oven with a little bit of sea salt and olive oil, which is always absolutely perfect. Just peel, slice, and lightly coat with olive oil in a glass or metal dish. Let roast on whatever temperature suits for about 20-30 min. I was in a hurry, so I turned the oven way up to 200 C (around 430 F), but had to keep a close eye on them so they didn’t burn. 170 C would have been more appropriate.
And voila! “Lunchtime, Beaver!”

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