Every year I try to come up with something good for Valentines Day. Sometimes its extravagant; sometimes low key. So I thought about a dinner I cooked up several years ago. This is a meal you can do ahead of time, as the chicken is the only thing cooked at the last minute. Everything else can be prepared ahead of time. Although the special day has passed, enjoy the food for another special evening.
Pan fried chicken cutlets with capers
6 chicken breast halves, skinned, and boned, about 6 ounces each
Salt and pepper
All purpose flour for dredging
1 1/4 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
5-6 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil
1/4 to 1/2 cup clarified butter
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped shallots
5-6 tablespoons capers
6-8 tablespoons butter, softened
5-6 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
Pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness between sheets of waxed paper. Beat eggs lightly and season with salt and pepper. Just before cooking, dust chicken breasts with flour and dip in egg. Combine Parmesan, tarragon and chervil. Bread cutlets in this mixture.
Heat clarified butter and sauté cutlets until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Do two or three at a time if necessary; do not crowd the pan.
Remove to warm platter and keep warm. Add shallots, parsley and capers to pan. Whisk in butter, bit by bit, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place cutlets on heated plates and pour sauce on top. Garnish with haricots verts or asparagus.
This meal serves six, with a prep time of 15 minutes and cooking time of 4 minutes. To make dinner complete, cook some asparagus, roast some red potatoes and pick up some chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert. A little champagne before, a little chardonnay with and some coffee with the strawberries will finish everything nicely.
A couple notes before you begin: fresh herbs are not necessary — dried will do nicely. Other combinations of herbs work well. Use a non-stick pan to fry the chicken. Enjoy!!
Doug Gerard was born in Lodi and began cooking at age five. He managed three Togo’s restaurants, cooked at the Windjammer in Aptos and was a line cook at the Italian Tratoria in Mountain View. He also took a couple dozen cooking classes at The Great Chefs series at Mondavi Winery and Draegers Culinary Centers. His favorite chef is Julia Childs.