This Is the Best Chicken Ive Ever Had
A dash of gin and a smattering of fried sage make these sauted chicken breasts more than the usual weeknight dinner.
When Amy Thielen was a child, she was a gabber: someone who needed to verbalize the thoughts out of her head before they overwhelmed her. To pour the foam off, as she put it. While her mother cooked at the stovetop, the young Thielen sat on a yellow vinyl-padded swivel stool at the kitchen island, twirling and talking her mothers ear off about seventh grade. This proximity to the action of cooking, a sort of learning by absorption, would form the foundation of Thielens culinary education as she moved through her life later as a restaurant line cook and cookbook author. Details like how to cut the mushrooms and when to flip the chicken, and what to do with the fond that collects on the bottom of the pan (make a sauce, of course). It was like I could be watching Food Network, she said to me over the phone, but it was live.
Years later, Thielen would surmise that attention to such details was the key to what I consider her best chicken breast recipe to date, from her forthcoming cookbook, Company. Heres the idea: If you treat something as humble as a chicken dinner with the care you would, say, a butter-basted rib-eye or a miso-glazed cod fillet, then the end result will be restaurant-quality. The best cooking requires attention to your guests, to your food, to yourself and your movements. Be prepared to stand stoveside and watch the bottom of the pan with predatory focus, she advises in the recipes headnote, because if you let yourself be called away, the precious browned foundation will burn and the whole sauce will be thrown.
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