So much of winter cooking centers on roasted and braised food that it's nice to mix it up with some lighter, brighter dishes. Here, I take advantage of the seasonal abundance of citrus. Chicken cutlets are marinated in an orange vinaigrette and then broiled, or grilled if you prefer. Some of the same vinaigrette, reserved before marinating, serves as a sauce when the chicken breasts are served on a bed of steamed baby spinach with some orange segments. The combination is a warm salad that's good for lunch or as a light supper.
You can buy thin chicken cutlets or boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, and cut them horizontally in half; pound thin as needed.
This recipe makes a generous cup of orange dressing. You'll need less than two-thirds of the dressing for the recipe. Save the rest to dress a green salad the next day.
Make Ahead: The chicken needs to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
- For the vinaigrette
- Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange (2 teaspoons zest, 1/4 cup juice)
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- For the chicken and spinach
- 1 pound (four 1/2-inch-thick) chicken breast cutlets (see headnote)
- 6 ounces baby spinach, rinsed
- Water, as needed
- 2 medium oranges, cut into segments (see NOTE)
For the vinaigrette: Combine the orange zest and juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, sugar and pepper to taste in a blender. Puree until smooth; with the motor running, gradually add the oil to form an emulsified vinaigrette, with a yield of a generous cup.
For the chicken and spinach: Place the chicken in a gallon-size resealable plastic food storage bag. Add 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette, reserving the rest of it for serving. Massage through the bag to coat the chicken evenly. Seal; place in a shallow dish and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Position the top oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the top broiler element; preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Arrange the marinated chicken on a baking sheet; discard the marinade that's left in the bag. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes, then turn the chicken over and broil on the second side for 4 to 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, steam the spinach: Heat a 12-inch skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and a few tablespoons of water if the spinach is dry; cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the spinach starts to wilt. Uncover and stir so the spinach is completely wilted.
Divide the spinach among individual plates, draining off any excess liquid. Top each portion with one of the chicken breast cutlets. Scatter the orange segments over each serving, then drizzle each portion with 1 tablespoon of the reserved vinaigrette.
Serve warm; pass the remaining vinaigrette at the table.
NOTE: Slice the peel from the oranges, removing all pith. Cut between the membranes to release the fruit segments, letting them fall into a mixing bowl. Add any juice to the vinaigrette.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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