What a beautiful, simple, and yet elegant dish! Rich in flavor and in history! Originating from the birth of the renaissance period in Florence, Italy, this dish has an aristocratic history, but its ingredients are basic. The entire dish can be done in one pan so I consider it “peasantesque.”
I do not routinely cook with butter and cream, however, on occasion, it is a delight to have these types of dairy-based ingredients with poultry. The use of butter and cream (and just a dash of Parmigiano-Reggiano) is not overwhelming but moderately used to create just the right amount of comfort on the palate and still feel light-hearted at the same time. Add the baby spinach and mushrooms, and the caramelized sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, and we have a wonderful savory (and just a little sweet) flavor dynamic going on here! And it’s delicious!
However, what type of wine will stand up to this beautiful Italian classic? Well, I know one. . . A “Seyval Blanc” from the Finger Lakes region of NY! Isn’t it obvious? Haha just kidding. Most people have not even heard of this varietal. And, that is the beauty of the world of wine. There are hidden gems all over the world and this is one of them. A beautiful fruit-forward simple dry white wine that I just love, especially with this meal! For me, simplicity is beauty with both food and wine.
So let’s get cooking and then we will talk more about the pairing and this wine.
For this dish, we are talking “gentle, gentle, gentle” sautee with everything. We are going to gently sautee the chicken in butter and hardly cook the spinach but rather let the heat of the dish wilt it and then fold it in.
I’m not going with my usual cast iron, high-heat method I normally do with chicken. In fact, I like to use a large non-stick saute pan for the entire dish. In contrast to best practices we normally adhere to when cooking protein on the stovetop, we are not going to get the pan piping hot as the butter will burn. The chicken is deliberately cut thin so a gentle sautee is all that is needed to cook it through.
- To begin preheat the oven to 390 Fahrenheit and place the whole cherry tomatoes on the top shelf of the oven on cast iron or a baking sheet. Remove, cover, and set aside when noticeably charred and blistered.
- Season the potatoes with all the listed ingredients, toss and place in the oven on the middle shelf uncovered for 45 minutes in a baking pan also at 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not cover or stir midway. Just let them be. If they stick it’s nothing a flat metal spatula can’t handle.
- Season flour with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Dredge your scalloped chicken breasts liberally in the flower. This is one case where you do not have to shake off “all” excess flour. Get as much flour on there as you can as it will help with your spontaneous roux later on.
- Once the chicken is floured, melt the butter on medium heat until it covers the base of the nonstick saute pan. Once the butter is bubbling and obviously hot, place the chicken in the pan and let cook for just a few minutes on each side. Keep your eye on the flame. A little bit of browning of the butter is good. However, you want to keep a balance of getting your chicken breasts lightly browned and not burning the butter which will serve as the base of the sauce. If the butter burns the dish is pretty much ruined.
- Once lightly browned on both sides, remove the chicken from the pan and keep covered.
- Add the thinly sliced baby Bella mushrooms and minced garlic to the pan.
- Once you start to smell the garlic cooking (about 45 seconds) turn up the heat to medium-medium high and add your dry white wine.
- Stir the ingredients with a spatula making sure all browned residue breaks loose from the bottom of the pan.
- Once the perfumy smell of the white wine becomes subtle and the sauce has reduced a bit then add the cream.
- Continue to cook on medium heat.
- When the sauce starts to thicken, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and return the chicken to the pan.
- Now place the baby spinach on top, put the flame on low, and cover the sautee pan.
- In about 3-5 minutes the spinach will be wilted but still bright green in color.
- Gently fold the spinach into the dish and top with the roasted cherry tomatoes.
- Plate and serve with seasoned potatoes and a Finger Lakes 2019 Seyval Blanc from Hunt Country Vineyards!
About the wine.
My research says Seyval Blank likes it garlicky, and it does!
This is a beautiful, crisp, well-balanced Finger Lakes white. I detect zero oak and 100% mineral and earthy finger lakes terroir shining through with lots of character from nose, to palate, to finish.
This 2019 Seyval Blanc from Hunt Country vineyards is fruit-forward with citrusy aromas of melon, honey due, and green apple. This wine both elevates and slices through the garlicky and savory spinach, butter-based sauce. Although considered a dry white, its fruitiness and just a tad of residual sugar play well with the sweet and smokey roasted cherry tomatoes along with standing straight up to the rustic roasted potatoes simply baked with olive oil, salt, pepper, a generous amount of Spanish paprika and garlic powder. This wine is light-bodied but almost has a medium body “coating” effect on the palate with perfect acidity. This wine is a delight on its own chilled well on a summer night sitting by the lake. It is such a joy to have access to local wines such as this one. For $15 a bottle, it’s a true value. Can’t wait for my next bottle of this one!
I love my food and wine “simply beautiful.” Just sayin.’
I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for visiting my blog.
Two cups of cherry or grape tomatoes baked whole until charred
2 large boneless, skinless, chicken breasts fileted scallopini style
¾ cup of butter (salted)
Flour for dredging seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
2 cups of baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin.
4 garlic cloves minced or pasted
3/4 cup of dry white wine
½ cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt & Pepper to taste
6 cups of baby spinach left whole
For the potatoes
1 ½ lb of baby yellow/golden potatoes quartered
3 teaspoons of salt
3 teaspoons of course black pepper
1 tablespoon of Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil
Fresh parsley coarsely chopped and folded in at the end