Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Weeknight Supper – Chicken Milanese with Arugula, Apple and Walnut Salad

I have to share this – it’s so damn delicious and I’m going to apologize in advance for the fairly imprecise measurements and preparation technique. I found myself in the kitchen one night with a package of thinly sliced chicken breasts and really not sure what to do with them (they’re not my favorite thing to cook for the most part).  I’d been to Trader Joe’s that day and bought some Honeycrisp apples and Wild Rocket and suddenly it came to me – I could make crispy chicken with a kickass salad.

I cored, halved, and thinly sliced the apples and then tossed them with lemon juice which not only prevented nasty browning, but added a nice tart contrast to the sweetness of the apple. If you can’t find Honeycrisps or don’t like them (is that even possible), I’d go with another sweeter apple – maybe even a pear.  Anything tart will just not be pleasant.  I think that apple and walnut is one of the more sublime combinations, so I added toasted nuts to the mix.  If you don’t like walnuts, then substitute your own favorite.  The bitter-ish greens really hold up to the acid of the dressing (lemon & olive oil), as well as providing a lovely contrast to the sweet-tart apple and the crispy chicken. Finally I sprinkled some kosher salt over the top. Don’t skip that part.

All in all, this ended up being a perfect dinner salad, satisfying and just screaming “autumn” to me. It didn’t actually take a long time to make and if you’re a family with children, it’s a great opportunity to engage their help.  My mother made chicken Milanese all the time (of course she baked hers with tomato sauce and mozzarella and called it Chicken Parmesan) and my brothers and I loved to help her bread the chicken – messy, but fun.

Let’s get started.

  • 1.5 lb chicken cutlets (thinly sliced chicken breasts) – say 6, maybe
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2-3 eggs, well beaten (start with 2 and add an extra if needed)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (add a little more if needed)
  • Olive Oil for frying the chicken
  • Wild rocket (or arugula or watercress or other spicy green
  • 1 large Honeycrisp apple
  • ½ cup walnut meats, toasted
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Prep the salad:

Core and halve and very thinly slice the apple (thin, but not quite shaved). Place the apples in a small bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, making sure that they’re completely coated.  This will keep the apples from turning an unpleasant brown and also is part of the joy of this salad.  Cover and refrigerate

Toast the walnuts (gently, because these babies will burn in an instant) and coarsely chop. Set aside.

Dump the greens in a large bowl and keep refrigerated (you can do this at the last minute if you want)

Prepare the chicken:

Heat the oven to 300˚F and place a large cooling rack over a baking sheet and set in the oven (I put the chicken in here to finish cooking through and also keep warm while I cook the rest of the chicken)

Set out three bowls or pie pans (or paper plates for the flour and bread crumbs if you want);

Combine the flour, salt, garlic powder and pepper

Lightly coat a cutlet with the seasoned flour. Dip in the eggs then in the breadcrumbs

Repeat with remaining chicken

Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat – you want the oil fairly hot when the chicken hit it. Cook the chicken in the hot oil until brown and crispy on each side (3-4 minutes per side)

Watch the oil – you may need to raise the temperature when initially adding the chicken, but then drop it down once the oil temp rises.

Put the chicken in the oven on prepared rack in the oven while you finish with the rest of the cutlets.

Once all the chicken is cooked finish assembling the dish.

Toss the greens with @3Tbsp lemon juice and 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Taste it at this point.  I like mine fairly acidic, so adjust as needed, adding more juice/olive oil to suit your taste buds.  Put a large handful of greens on each plate; sprinkle with the walnuts.  Place a chicken cutlet on the greens and top with a handful of the lemon-coated apple sliced.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.

That’s it. Sweet-tart apples, crunchy walnuts, warm crispy chicken, belligerent greens – some stay cold and crunchy, some get a little wilted and that tiny burst of salt.  Perfect.

I found that I chicken cutlet per salad worked fine for us. But you can certainly add more for those with larger appetites.

I’d think this would serve 3 – 4 nicely – you might need a little more greens.

I really hope you try this out – it was so yum that it’s absolutely going to feature prominently for as long as I can get my hands on those apples. I might also add a little goat cheese.  Hmmmmm – something to think about.


Let’s ignore that the table is not properly set, shall we, and just focus on the food.


For Goodness Sake – Get Dressed Already!

No one likes to be caught naked (or underdressed for that matter) – and the same holds true for your salad greens.

While it may seem convenient grab a bottle off the supermarket shelf, let me offer that the investment of a few minutes over the weekend can result in a wealth of dressings to delight all sorts of palates – and greens.  I tend to like robust dressings largely because I tend to like greens that can support them – arugula, watercress, spinach, baby kale, etc.  Angharad leans this way also, but Iseult continues to run in the “make mine Ranch on romaine or ice berg, thankyouverymuchalready.”  I’m not putting down ranch dressing or romaine or ice berg lettuces either – and these dressings will work fine there also, but a little will tend to go a long way.

Wasabi Lime Dressing

  • 1 tube wasabi paste
  • 3-4 Tbsp. lime juice
  • ¼ cup roasted peanut oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

I throw all the ingredients in a mason jar, shake the daylights out of it, and voila, something wildly pungent and sinus clearing!  This is my version of Nigella Lawson’s dressing from her cookbook, “Nigella Express”.  I use a roasted peanut oil from Loriva which has a very dominant flavor; to balance it, I used an entire tube of wasabi paste and plenty of lime.  This is really going to come down to a matter of taste.  If you use regular peanut oil (or even another mild oil – and I will tell you right now that olive oil is not a good choice), then you can reduce the wasabi and lime.  Play around with it until you hit the sweet spot with your taste buds.

Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Add the Dijon, olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar to a canning jar or dressing cruet; make a paste of the garlic and salt; then add to the dressing ingredients.  Shake to combine.

This is my version of Hugh Acheson’s dressing for his Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad (from his cookbook, A New Turn in the South).  We like this dressing so much that I’ve taken to making a larger quantity and using it on a lot of salads, most recently my BST Salad (Bacon, Spinach & Tomato).  Let me also add that I’m completely addicted to the Brussels Sprouts Salad and have made it a fair number of times already.

Go-To Lemon Vinaigrette

  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 5 – 6 grinds black pepper

This one really is my go-to dressing and I always have it on hand.  One of the things I do quite frequently is buy a bag of “angel hair coleslaw” (sometimes I’m too busy to finely shred cabbage), add a shaved sweet onion (and maybe a shaved red bell pepper) and toss it with about ¼ – ⅓ cup of this dressing.  It makes a killer slaw for fish tacos or pork tacos or eating it straight from the bowl.

[Edited to add – I also make this with lime (use an equally substituted amount instead of lemon juice) and I actually prefer to make the slaw with the lime version.]

Green Apple Vinaigrette

  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (extra delicious if you can make with Meyer lemons)
  • 2 Tbsp. finely minced shallot
  • 5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely minced Granny Smith apple
  • ½ tsp. fleur-de-sel or fine sea salt

This is my version of a recipe from Epicurious for “Walnut Chicken Salad with Green Apple Vinaigrette”.   I love this salad and the dressing.  It’s tart and tangy and fresh.  It doesn’t keep particularly well  long periods (the apple takes on an unpleasant, mushy texture), so plan to use it within a couple days – and really, doesn’t take very long to make.

So now  you have some lovely dressings for your greens which can be shaken up in no time.   Your greens (and your family) will thank you.

(Note – I use my canning jars for everything but canning (haven’t acquired that super power yet).  One of the coolest things you can now buy are plastic lids for your jars – and I really like this for storing my dressings, etc.) 



A Little Something Tasty for Lunch

Miami Spice Cookbook

Photo Credit – Amazon

Yesterday I was sharing this salad recipe with a friend and then couldn’t stop thinking about it.
So, voila! Spinach Salad with Blood Oranges and Walnuts.

This recipe originally came from a much-used cookbook of mine, Miami Spice by Steven Raichlen, where it’s called “Spinach, Blood Orange and Macadamia Nut Salad”.
I made a couple adjustments, and that’s what you’ll see here. The original is lovely also and I’ll explain why I made the adjustments.


For the Salad:

3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
4 blood oranges, peeled and sectioned, juice reserved for dressing
5 cups baby spinach (arugula and watercress are nice too)


Such Yummy Goodness

Layer the spinach in a large bowl; top with orange sections and walnuts.
Pour Dressing (below) over the salad and serve.

The Dressing

1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
Ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (or safflower oil is nice too)
Juice from the oranges
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.
Taste and adjust to your own preferences – sometimes the oranges are extra sweet, so a little more vinegar is nice.

So about those adjustments – well, the original recipe called for macadamia nuts, which are nice, but on the expensive side; the oil used is Hazelnut Oil – lovely to be sure, but also, very expensive and has very short shelf life, so if you don’t use it for much, kind of not worth the cost; I do use safflower oil in this sometimes; the original recipe also called for grilled corn kernels (don’t care much for them here); and finally, it called for sherry vinegar which I usually don’t have.  So there you are.  I like my version a lot and you can believe I eat tons of it when these oranges are in season.



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The Friday Dilemma Plus Salad Recipe

Sooooo, it’s Friday and it’s Lent. I like both and I like the combination. However, it also means that I have to put a little more effort into thinking about what to cook for dinner.

Usually that’s not a particularly difficult stretch for me, but this year Iseult gave up dairy and Angharad gave up wheat, and I’m doing a more generic fast. Methinks salads shall feature prominently this year.

And speaking of salads, I made a terrific one from Hugh Acheson’s “A New Turn in the South” – Shaved Brussels Spouts Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette. Here’s the recipe with my little notes…Hugh Acheson's Cookbook

Toss the following in a salad bowl:

1 quart Brussels sprouts, thinly shaved (mandolin is great for this)
1 cup toasted pecan halves (I used walnuts)
1 cup shaved Romano or Parmesan Cheese (I forgot it)
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (I just tore mine)

Dijon Vinaigrette:

1 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used this one so tasty)
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (I had a Meyer Lemon – YUM)
1 tsp. sherry vinegar (I only had white wine vinegar)
kosher salt  & black pepper (so, I made a paste of a garlic clove and 1/2 tsp salt and added it also)  1 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley (I forgot about it)

Shake it all up in  a jar and you’re done!


Don’t let your predisposition to Brussels sprouts keep you from trying this – it’s really tasty and an entirely different species from the over-boiled, nasty-tasting stuff your mother made you eat.