Doing what we do best... dining

Monday, June 7, 2010

Back at it

So after a vacation hiatus, we're back to blogging. We spent a wonderful week in Florida visiting (among others) Mickey & Minnie, Doc Brown and the time-traveling Delorean and a congregation of gators. We ate at some amazing restaurants, a few of which I review below. When we travel, we plan much around the restaurants we want to try. This vacation was no different. And many of the choices soared.

Emeril's Tchoup Chop was one of the highlights. Their "Kicked-up" crabcake appetizer was divine. It was adorned by a mango-habanero butter sauce and caramelized pineapple compote. Ridiculously mouthwatering. I could have eaten 5 of these things. I had a King Salmon filet with a gentle yamasa ginger butter sauce. Brian enjoyed a pepper grilled, yellowfin tuna steak with a ramp-ginger cabernet reduction. The sauces were exquisite. The service was exceptional. I'd go back to Orlando just for this restaurant.

Salt Island Restaurant matched The Tchoup Chop in service, and was a close second in terms of the food. They had a most extensive wine list and very knowledgeable servers. We had an appetizer called Scallops on Fire - scallops topped with Blue Crab meat baked in a fiery sauce. Pretty respectable way to start a great meal. Both the seafood and the steaks were well prepared and pleasing.

Another dining experience we enjoyed was Cameron Mitchell's Ocean Prime. They had the most delicious Crème Brûlée I've ever tasted. The wine list was pretty impressive also.

Anyway, back to reality (ugh!) - back to blogging (hooray!).

This recipe is one of Brian's original creations. And it's fabulous. The sauce is different every time. It just depends what we have on hand and what we're in the mood for. Tonight's sauce (the one below) will be especially delicious - sweet and spicy; my favorite combination of flavors.

When we first started making this, we fried the chicken. Tasty, but oil-laden. Brian tried it in the oven one night and the result was fantastic. Just as crispy; just as tasty. And MUCH healthier. That's how we've been cooking it ever since.

Panko Crusted Chicken with Sriracha-Peach Reduction

The Sauce:

First, start the sauce. In a saucepan, combine the following:
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup jam, jelly or preserves - tonight, we're using peach preserves
1/2 cup red wine - use what you drink
Sriracha - we use a lot, we like it hot. Use what your palate can handle.

Combine & stir all. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Don't cover. Stir it occasionally.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. As many people as you're feeding, that's how many you need.
Pound them out with a meat tenderizer. You'll want them about 3/4 inch thick. Once that is done, coat with Panko bread crumbs. These can be purchased in the Asian section of the grocery, or you can make them (more on that in another blog).
Lay flat on a cookie sheet covered with non-stick aluminum foil.

Bake at 350 for approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through completely.

Toward the end of the baking time, remove the sauce from heat and let cool slightly.

Remove the chicken from oven, and dress with the sauce reduction. So delicious.