Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Comfort food - Italiano!

Is there a person alive who doesn't love a good schnitzel? I think it rates as one of the ultimate comfort foods and the other night I really felt like some comfort, so I decided to do a simple chicken schnitzel. As it turned out, I also had some eggplant in the fridge so what started as a basic schnitzel turned into something else entirely, with a distinctive Italian flavour. I simply prepared the chicken schnitzels as you normally would - well seasoned flour, then some beaten egg and breadcrumbs and in the fridge to firm up for 10 minutes or so before shallow frying the chicken.

While the chicken was chilling, I sliced the eggplant thinly and then cooked the slices in a very lightly oiled pan until it started to colour. I also made a simple tomato based sauce at the same time. Once I had cooked the chicken, I spread on a thin layer of the tomato sauce, topped the chicken with the eggplant, then some more sauce. I then added a mixture of mozzerella and parmesan cheese and baked the chicken in a moderate oven for about 10 minutes or so. Easy.

Chicken Melanzane
with asparagus, baby carrots and white anchovy and caper butter
I had been to the organic market the day before and had bought some lovely baby carrots and asparagus as well as some white anchovies and these formed the basis for a side dish to serve with the chicken. The butter that I used as a dressing for the vegetables would also work really well as a simple sauce for filled pasta, such as tortellini or ravioli. You can also make a batch of the butter and freeze it.

To make the butter, I just finely chopped a handful of capers and 5 or 6 white anchovies. Add this to a couple of tablespoons unsalted butter, along with a pinch of cayenne pepper and a generous amount of black pepper. Mix well and then just toss through the hot vegetables. Delicious.


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