Sautéed Chicken Cutlets with Lime Sauce
Spend an additional 5 minutes in front of the stove and you can make a flavorful sauce—technically called a reduction sauce—to pour over the chicken breasts. This version (spiked with lime juice and soy sauce) is untraditional, but really good. A little rice on the side to soak up some of the sauce would not be a bad thing.
About 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken (breasts, cutlets, tenders, thighs, or legs), pounded to uniform thickness if necessary and blotted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons peanut oil or other neutral oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 limes, one cut into very thin slices, and the other two cut into wedges
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1. Heat the oven to 200°F. Put a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and put the cornmeal on a plate or in a shallow bowl.
2. Add the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet and swirl it around. When it is hot—a pinch of cornmeal will sizzle—dredge a piece of the chicken in the cornmeal, pressing to coat evenly. Shake it a little so that excess coating falls off. Add the chicken piece to the pan, then move on to the next one. (Don’t be tempted to dredge in advance and add all the pieces at once; the coating will become soggy, and the heat in the pan will drop too quickly.)
3. Cook the chicken, regulating the heat if necessary so that there is a constant sizzle but no burning. After 2 minutes, rotate the chicken (do not flip) so that the outside edges are moved toward the center and vice versa. When the pieces are brown, after 3 to 4 minutes, turn them over.
4. Cook on the second side until the chicken is firm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. (Cut into one with a thin-bladed knife; the center should be white or slightly pink.) Since they will sit in the oven for 5 minutes, marginal undercooking is preferable to marginal overcooking. Transfer the chicken to a platter, top each piece with some of the thinly sliced lime, and put the platter in the oven.
5. Reduce the heat to medium, and add a little more oil to the pan, along with the garlic and shallot. Cook until fragrant, about a minute, then add the wine, let it bubble away for a minute, then add the soy sauce and squeeze in 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is slightly thickened and a bit syrupy, another minute or two. (If you want just a little bit of sauce, cook longer; if you want more, cook a little less.)
6. Add the remaining butter and swirl the pan around until the butter melts. Add any juices that have accumulated around the cooked chicken, along with the 1/4 cup cilantro. Stir, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, garnish with the remaining cilantro and lime wedges, and serve.