Table Talk: February 2015
The buzz on Tulsa’s tastiest products, restaurants and events
Everyone needs a signature dish.
Maybe it’s the spinach dip everyone expects you to bring to the party or the triple-layer chocolate cake that’s requested for birthdays.
Around Valentine’s Day that signature dish can come in handy for impressing a date. You don’t need to know a glossary of cooking terminology or even have many cooking tools to make something special.
I have a friend who, to impress a girl, bought a new set of pots and pans before inviting her over for dinner. The relationship lasted, so I suppose it worked in his favor, but I wouldn’t recommend it for most.
If you don’t already have a signature dish, chicken parmigiana can be yours. All you need is one pan. (Two if you’re making your own sauce.) It’s simple to make, has wide appeal and delivers a restaurant-worthy taste.
Best Chicken Parmigiana
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter
1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, water drained and cubed
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 pound spaghetti, cooked
Using a meat mallet, flatten chicken breasts by pounding each to about 1/2-inch thickness. Place chicken in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
For the sauce: In a large sauté pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaves; cook another couple of minutes. Add vinegar, basil, tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened. This will take about 20 minutes. Stir often. Keep sauce warm on lowest heat.
Place the flour in a shallow bowl, then add parsley and a little salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, use a fork to whisk eggs with milk. Place breadcrumbs on a large plate, then season with a little salt and pepper. Dip chicken first in the flour, then the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs.
In a large, heavy sauté pan, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken to the hot pan, cooking about 5 minutes on each side. You may need to cook the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
If your sauté pan is ovenproof, pour tomato sauce over chicken and top with mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano. Cook for 15 minutes. Serve with warm spaghetti noodles. If you don’t have an ovenproof sauté pan, transfer the chicken to a baking dish, then spoon the tomato sauce and cheese on top and bake.
On the town
Fried chicken is one of my favorite things to make. But my version doesn’t come close to the perfect fried chicken served at Doc’s on
Wednesday nights. On fried chicken night at Doc’s, regulars come for a huge portion — one-half of a fried chicken — plus mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and carrots. The chicken is brined and soaked for at least 24 hours before it’s cooked, making for a tender chicken worthy of the best farm-table dinner.
Doc’s, 3509 S. Peoria Ave., 918-949-3663, www.docswineandfood.com
On days when I don’t feel like cooking, we typically turn to pizza. Andolini’s is the favorite for everyone in my house. And while I don’t think I could tire of my favorite Spring Street pizza, I do occasionally want to try something new. My family of pizza lovers went wild over a pasta selection — Penne Pomodoro ($13). It’s rich with marinara, garlic, butter, cream and cheese. I loved the San Marzano Primavera ($12) with eggplant, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes. If you’ve never had the pistachio pesto, it’s also great, whether on pizza or over penne.
Andolini’s, 1552 E. 15th St., 918-728-6111; 12140 E. 96th St. N., Owasso, 918-272-9328; www.andopizza.com