Oprah knows food.

Or at least the people who work for her do.  Last year, I borrowed The Oprah Magazine Cookbook from the library (yes, there are still people out there who take books out of the library).  I renewed the book at least 3 times until they wouldn’t let me anymore.  During the few weeks or months that I was in possession of this book, I tried a number of recipes, from classic clam chowder to ropa vieja (steak and bell pepper stew), African chicken in peanut sauce (my husband’s favourite) and banana pudding.  Most of the recipes I tried were not too labour intensive and pretty tasty.  With more than 175 recipes in this book, there are still lots more for me to try.  And a few weeks ago, I decided that it was worth the $9.99 sale price I paid to have a copy of my own.

The other night I made lemon chicken scaloppine in pine nut-parmesan crust or as I would call it, chicken fingers.  This is a quick dish that goes well with just a salad or a side of spaghetti al Limone.  The pine nuts add an extra crunch to the crust and chicken breasts always comes out juicy!  Just ask my husband and sister, who normally prefer dark meat over white meat.

The ingredients.

Lemon Chicken Scaloppine in Pine Nut-Parmesan crust with Spaghetti al Limone

Recipes (adapted from The Oprah Magazine Cookbook):

Lemon Chicken Scaloppine in Pine Nut-Parmesan crust

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Pound chicken between 2 pieces of waxed paper or saran wrap until 1/4 inch thick.
  2. On a plate, combine flour, 1 tsp salt and pepper.
  3. Put eggs on another plate.
  4. On a third plate, combine bread crumbs, zest from 1 lemon (2 tsp), 1 tsp salt, cheese, pine nuts and basil.
  5. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with remaining 1/2 tsp salt.
  6. Coat chicken on both sides with flour, then egg (let excess drip off) and then bread crumb mix, pressing slightly.
  7. Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  8. Cook chicken, in batches, 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden.
  9. Add more butter and oil with each batch.
  10. Serve chicken with lemon wedges.

Spaghetti al Limone

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  1. Cook spaghetti in salted, boiling water until al dente.
  2. Place colander over large serving bowl and drain spaghetti into it so that hot water will warm bowl.
  3. Pour water from bowl, wipe dry and put spaghetti into it.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine cheese and lemon juice.  Gradually beat in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in lemon zest.
  5. Pour sauce over spaghetti and toss.
  6. Add basil and toss.
  7. Eat!

Notes and tips:

If you are like me and don’t have a meat mallet or rolling pin, just use the handle of a knife to tenderize the chicken.  But be careful not to poke an eye out!  Or use your fists if you want to let out some anger and frustration.  Also, I never have the patience to pound until 1/4 inch thick – a few pounds on both sides is good enough.  To my surprise the first time I made this dish, the chicken is actually cooked all the way through in 2-3 minutes on each side.  No need to worry that the chicken will be raw!   Parmesan cheese can be used as a substitute for Parmigiano-Reggiano in the spaghetti.  And if you don’t want to hand squeeze 4 lemons, just buy the juice from the grocery store.


3 thoughts on “Oprah knows food.

  1. Pingback: A light meal. « trials in food

  2. Pingback: Moroccan chicken with couscous « trials in food

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