This dish isn’t’ really Italian. I doubt my Italian readers will recognize it as … well, anything. I doubt my Italian readers will recognize it as … anything. This is a Florentine in the American sense – meaning something with spinach or a spinach sauce. It’s a take on an Italian American classic, and because it’s a stovetop dish, it can be ready in just a few minutes and without a lot of preparation.
It also highlights a technique that’s most often used with chicken breasts: pounded cutlets dredged in flour, shallow fried, then braised in a flavorful liquid. I love the way it works with chicken thighs – mostly because they maintain their essential chicken-ness, unlike breast meat which often simply disappears into the background.
Here, we’ll build a quick sauce of white wine, garlic, and heavy cream that is both a simmer sauce for the chicken, but also the backbone of a rich, creamy spinach and cheese sauce that dresses the meat, and makes a great pasta sauce as well.
Chicken Thigh FlorentineCourse: MainCuisine: American, ItalianDifficulty: Medium
Chicken thigh version of the Italian American Chicken Florentine.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups packed baby spinach or ½ cup frozen spinach
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup AP flour
½ cup white wine
2 tbsp clarified butter or neutral oil
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8th cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic
Grated nutmeg as garnish (opt)
- Peel, trim, and finely mince or microplane the garlic.
- If using fresh spinach, quickly blanch it in boiling heavily salted water, cool it in ice water, then squeeze out as much water as possible.
- If using frozen spinach, thaw completely, and squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Corsely chop the spinach
- Layer the chicken thighs between two layers of plastic wrap.
- Using a mallet, a pan, or the flat blade of a heavy knife, pound the chicken until it’s ¼ inch thick and an even thickness throughout.
- Season the chicken pieces generously on both sides.
- Spread the flour on a plate or sheet pan.
- Dredge the chicken in the flour, taking care to make sure all pieces are evenly covered.
- Allow the chicken to rest 10 minutes for the flour to hydrate.
- Add two tbsp neutral oil or clarified butter to a pan large enough to hold all four pieces in one layer.
- Over medium heat fry the cutlets until lightly browned on both sides.
- Remove the cutlets from the pan and set aside.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook 30 seconds.
- Add the wine and chicken stock and reduce by ½.
- Add the cream, cheese, and spinach and cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced – about five minutes.
- Return the cutlets to the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes to rewarm and finish cooking.
- Tate for seasoning, and add salt and pepper.
- Garnish with a little fresh grated nutmeg. (opt)
- To serve, ladle sauce over the cutlets.
- Serve with spaghetti or other pasta.