- 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
- Essence to taste
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fine dried bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup minced yellow onions
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3/4 pound assorted exotic mushrooms, such as shiitakes, chanterelles, and black trumpets, wiped clean and sliced (about 4 cups)
- 4 cooked artichoke bottoms (see note)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 16 large leaves fresh spinach, well washed
- Cheesy Bacon Grits
- Cut each breast half lengthwise into 4 equal strips. Season with Essence. Put 1 cup of the flour in a shallow bowl and season with Essence. In another shallow bowl, put the bread crumbs and season with Essence. Put the egg wash in another bowl. Dredge the chicken strips first in the flour, tapping off any excess, then in the egg wash, letting any excess drip off, then in the bread crumbs.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large sautÈ pan over medium heat. Add several chicken strips at a time and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken and a total of 6 tablespoons of the butter until the chicken is all cooked. Season the chicken with Essence and keep warm. Using a paper towel, wipe the pan clean.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the sautÈ pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour and, stirring constantly, cook for 1 minute to make a blond roux. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the artichokes, lemon juice, and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and bring to a gentle boil. Cook until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Season again to taste with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat, then fry the spinach leaves for about 30 seconds. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, spoon the grits in the center of each serving plate. Lay 4 strips of chicken on top of the grits. Spoon the mushroom-and-artichoke sauce over the chicken, garnish with the spinach leaves, and serve.
- Note: For the artichoke bottoms, simply boil four fresh artichokes until tender in salted boiling water to cover, cool, then remove the leaves and chokes and, voil‡, you have artichoke bottoms. Easy enough!