Pan Seared Chicken with Tender Leek, Lemon Rice Pilaf, and Whatever Your Garden Grows Salad
- Pan Seared Chicken:
- 2 leeks
- 4 (6 to 8-ounce) pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Lemon Rice Pilaf:
- 1 tablespoon (1 turn around the pan in a slow stream) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- A few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped, about 1 tablespoon
- 1 (14-ounce) can or 2 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 lemon, zested
- Slivered almonds, toasted, for garnish
- Garden Salad:
- 1/4 pound (a couple of handfuls from produce bins) fresh wax beans
- 1/4 pound (a couple of handfuls from produce bins) fresh green beans
- 1 small yellow squash, julienne cut into strips
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 2 scallions, cut into on a diagonal
- 2 cups baby spinach or arugula leaves, shredded
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons (a couple of splashes) white wine or tarragon vinegar
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon and/or fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
Trim leeks of tough green ends and roots. Split leeks lengthwise, then cut across into 1/2-inch slices. Place sandy slices of leeks into a large bowl filled with cold water. Separating the layers of each slice to free the grains of sand. Allow the sand to settle to the bottom of the bowl. With your hands, gently lift the leeks out of the water leaving the sand and dirt behind. Place the leeks within arm's reach of the stovetop.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to skillet to coat the pan, then add chicken breasts. Brown chicken breasts 3 to 4 minutes on each side, then transfer to a plate.
Add a little more oil to the pan, then pour in leeks. Saute leeks 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add 1 cup wine to the pan and nestle chicken breasts down into leeks. Reduce heat to simmer and cook chicken 5 to 7 minutes longer.
To serve, remove chicken from pan and slice on an angle. Fan and arrange sliced chicken breasts over a bed of Sauteed leeks on each dinner plate or a warm serving platter. Serve with rice and salad.
Pilaf: heat a medium saucepan or pot over moderate heat. Add oil and butter and shallots to the pan. Saute shallots 2 minutes, then add 1 1/2 cups rice. Lightly brown rice 3 to 5 minutes. Add wine and allow it to evaporate entirely, 1 to 2 minutes. Add thyme and chicken broth to the rice. Fill broth can half-again with water or, measure 1 cup water and add to pot. Bring liquid to a boil. Cover rice and reduce heat. Cook rice 20 minutes, until tender.
Stir the zest of 1 lemon and parsley into rice. Transfer lemon rice to dinner plates or warm serving dish and garnish with toasted slivered almonds.
Heat 3-inches of water in a deep skillet and heat to a boil. Add trimmed wax and green beans and julienne sliced yellow squash to the pot. Simmering vegetables in water for 2 minutes, add red peppers and simmer 1 minute longer. You want the vegetables to remain full of color and bite. Drain vegetables and cold-shock under running water in your colander.
Whisk together mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice. Add olive oil in a slow stream while whisking to get a nice emulsion of your dressing. Add herbs and pour dressing over the salad. Toss salad to combine flavors and coat your vegetables evenly.
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