January 31, 2013

Blood Orange, Fennel and Mache Salad with Chicken Cutlets

Blood Orange Segments
Blood oranges!  So beautiful, so delicious...  currently in season...  Why not celebrate them with this lovely weeknight dinner, a salad with fennel, mache, in a light vinaigrette topped with blood orange segments  and a lovely, easy and quick breaded chicken cutlet?  I first took notice of blood oranges in Italy in 2008, I remember drinking some lovely blood orange juice at a lovely hotel called Romantica Pucci in Italy, here's the link- Romantica Pucci, which is lots of fun and near Civita, which is an amazing little town on a hill that you can only get to by a very narrow path- here's a photo my husband took- I remember he took the picture right before we had a really outstanding meal involving wild boar (cinghiale), yum!  I love it when pictures remind you of a wonderful meal!

Blood Orange, Fennel and Mache Salad
(2-3 servings of salad)
3-4 blood orange segments per person
1 bulb of fennel
2-2 1/2 cups of mache (a variety of salad greens)

Simple Vinaigrette
1 part white wine vinegar
2 parts olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground white pepper

Rinse your fennel, discard the root and the top.  Slice the bulb and then, if needed, cut the rings into smaller pieces:


Place the pieces of fennel in a wide bowl (a wide bowl make it easier to toss the salad and evenly coat with dressing).

Next, rinse your mache and place in a salad spinner, spin until dry.  Add to the fennel in the shallow bowl.

Mache added to the fennel with salt and pepper
Add a pinch of sea salt and grind some freshly ground pepper over the salad greens.

Let's get our chicken ready!

Chicken Cutlets
Chicken cutlets (roughly 3-4 pieces per half chicken breast)
1 beaten egg per 0.5 lb. of chicken (I had about 1.25 lb. of chicken and used 2 beaten eggs)
bread crumbs
sea salt
freshly ground pepper (I used black pepper)

I bought my chicken already cut into chicken cutlets, but you can easily butterfly your chicken breast halves and then cut them into smaller cutlets.  I LOVE chicken this way because it's never dry, you get a lot of great surface area with a nice crust and it's quick quick quick to make!  Plus, you can bread them and then put them in the refrigerator and then cook them the next day and they are great :)  Ok- so get yourself a little bowl and beat your egg(s).

2 eggs, beaten
Next, get a wide plate and mix breadcrumbs (I probably used about 3/4 of a cup give or take), add a pinch or two of sea salt, and be generous with some freshly ground black pepper.  Mix.

Breadcrumbs, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Next, you are going to submerge each piece of chicken in the egg- allowing excess to drip off:

Next, coat with breadcrumbs on both sides:

Coating a chicken cutlet with breadcrumbs
And set it aside- just pile 'em up on a plate!  For extra crunch, coat them again just before frying!

Breaded chicken cutlets
For frying these, I use a combination of canola oil and olive oil- because it's a little over medium heat and if it was just olive oil, after a while it gets a little brown.  The inclusion of the canola lets the oil perform better at a little higher heat.  I fry these in a dutch oven because it conducts heat really well and the higher sides prevent too much spray on my stove!  But, any good skillet is just fine, too!

Heat the oil over medium to medium high heat- my stove is relatively hot, so I am just a touch over medium here.  Fry each piece of chicken for about 2-3 minutes on each side, the coating should be a lovely golden brown.

Frying a chicken cutlet
While the chicken is cooking, dress your salad!  Using the simple salad dressing recipe of one part white wine vinegar, two parts olive oil (or walnut oil), a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground white pepper (which I make in a small mason jar and emulsify very easily by just shaking!  Add a little to the mache and fennel, toss to coat.  Place a serving portion of the mache and fennel on a dinner plate like so:

Assembling the Blood Orange, Fennel and Mache Salad
Next, if you haven't eaten then all already...  Add about 3 blood orange segments:

Blood Orange Segments on Top
Finally, add a chicken cutlet (or two) and enjoy!  Our son really loves this chicken!

Blood Orange, Fennel and Mache Salad with Chicken Cutlets
Enjoy a lovely weeknight dinner with your family!  A quick note- if you think you'll have left over salad, don't dress it, store it in the refrigerator without the dressing on it.  If the salad is stored with dressing on it, the mache gets fairly wilted.  If you aren't going to cook all your chicken right away, re-coat it before you store it and then, when you are ready to eat it, just fry very quickly.  We had our extra chicken the next day and it was not only delicious, but a snap since it was already prepared!

Here's our little girl enjoying lunch recently:

And here's our son about to try out his skis in the back yard telling the dog about it!

Enjoy your dinners together!

How cool is this, you can buy a blood orange tree for your patio!!!  I totally want one!!!

This was recently shared with me- some statistics about what family meals really mean- in terms of how it can positively or negatively impact children.  While my children are still so small, it's given me food for thought.  While my family didn't eat together all the time, we tried to eat together as much as we could- and I think it made a positive impact on my life- knowing that I was cared for and I was being paid attention to.  I hope that this is helpful for you and  your families!  (Courtesy of OnlineClasses.org)

Family Dinners Infographic

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