Apr 22, 2013

Plump and Sassy

That's how Martha Hall Foose describes this chicken dish.  An excellent descriptor, and one I have used to describe myself on occasion.

This excellent late spring supper comes from her cookbook, A Southerly Course, which of course, I highly recommend, if solely for reading purposes.  It is always nice to make something sophisticated and fresh, that uses readily available ingredients and the omnipresent boneless skinless chicken breast.

Butter Breast of Chicken

1/2 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 (5) ounce chicken breasts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
2 cups panko crumbs

  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Spoon the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a log.  Wrap tightly in the wrap, and place in the freezer until firm- about five minutes.
  • Put a chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap, and pound to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch.  Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.  Place a quarter of the butter in the center of each breast and roll the chicken around the butter  Secure each roll with a couple of toothpicks.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Set up three shallow dishes- one with flour, one with egg, and one with panko.  Dredge each piece of chicken in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in the panko- pat the panko crumbs in tot he chicken.  Place the chicken in a large baking dish- taking care not to crowd.
  • Okay, here Martha Hall Foose says to bake it for 15 minutes.  I have never met a chicken breast who will bake in 15 minutes, but maybe that is just me.  I say give it about 30 minutes, and check for doneness.

The lemony chicken is perfectly paired with a quick and garlicky side of spaghetti squash tossed with fresh homemade pesto.  Especially since the whole thing takes 10-12 minutes.  I have never loved spaghetti squash as much as I did prepared like this.

Summertime Spaghetti Squash:

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 tightly packed cup of fresh basil leaves
2 heaping tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (plus more to top)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cups toasted pecans
1 minced garlic clove
salt and pepper

Prick the squash in 3-4 places with a fork, place on a plate, and cover loosely with saran wrap.  Microwave at full blast for 9 minutes, and let stand covered for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pesto.  Put the basil, cheese, oil, garlics, nuts, salt and pepper to taste in a food processor and pulse until well combined.  (I used my mini- processor and it worked just fine).

Once the squash is cool enough to touch, halve it and scrape out the seeds.  Using a fork, scrape the pulp into a large bowl.  Add the pesto and toss to combine.

Writing this post is going to send me straight to the fridge to eat the leftovers.  I finished off dinner with a brown rice medley cooked in chicken broth, tossed with toasted pecans and the last of my green onions (sob!).

This was extra delicious as it met my needs of reasonably fresh and healthy, and Morgan's need of not overtly "healthy" and super tasty.  Thanks Martha Hall Foose!


  1. oh em gee. I am a pesto fanatic. and we recently became Team Spaghetti Squash. you've totally inspired me now!

  2. Can't wait to start getting my CSA veggies and herbs!! Thanks for this great recipe!!

  3. I need to make this squash. Yum. We have just signed up for a CSA so need ideas to make lots of different vegetables this year. Cookbook recommendations welcome. xoxo


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