Hello there. Happy New Year to you. I hope your winter holidays were everything you love about them and very little of the things you don’t. That’s assuming you celebrated any winter holiday at all which you may have not. I did. And I found that I had a better and better time as I let go of one after another “must-do” item on the to-do list in my head before Christmas. I mean Christmas was going to come whether or not the sheets on my bed were clean, right? I did get to indulge in a bit of arts and crafts too – I just didn’t finish anything. Though that won’t stop me from sharing those things with you when I do. But first I promised you a nice dinner so let’s get to it.
Have you heard of this place called Tender Greens? I think there’s a bunch of them in Southern California, but now we’ve got at least one in the Bay Area at the Stanford Shopping Center. Samantha and I ate there a couple of months ago and the plate of food I ordered was my idea of heaven – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, freshly dressed kale and a single piece of what I would call country bread, grilled. I used to make a favorite meal of chicken sausage served with Yukon Gold potatoes mashed with a ton of olive oil and sauteed Swiss chard, so I recognized this combo of chicken, potato and greens. But the fresh greens were a revelation to me and the mashed potatoes – so good!
The chicken and greens reminded me of a recipe I’d clipped from the San Francisco Chronicle years ago for a breaded chicken cutlet with arugula dressed in a lemony vinaigrette. (It’s from Amanda Gold; you can see it here.) I figured if I paired these two things with mashed potatoes, I could recreate a Tender Greens type of experience at home. But could I find the recipe for Tender Greens potatoes? I could!
For the greens
I like a combination of arugula (so peppery and yummy) and baby kale or spinach. The dressing is smashing! So fresh, so lemony, so simple. Whisk the juice from one lemon, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Just toss your greens with your dressing and they’re good to go.
For the chicken
Mix 1/4 cup flour with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and put on a plate. Whisk 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard in a bowl. Put 1-1/4 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs on another plate. Pound 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets thin. Dredge the cutlets in the flour mixture, then dip into the egg mixture and finally coat with breadcrumbs. Fry over medium-high heat in about 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
For the potatoes
Peel and quarter 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes and bring to a boil in cold water salted with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Simmer until fork tender then drain completely and mash with 1/4 cup heavy cream, 3 tablespoons butter cut into cubes and 1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream. Note: Click on the link in the text above if you want the exact recipe. It’s a bit more delicate and calls for a ricer. I usually add a couple more potatoes and scale up the other ingredients a bit. The more mashed potatoes the better as far as I’m concerned.
Don’t forget to serve with some lemon slices or wedges. You can also add shaved Parmesan cheese if you like.