Saturday, August 28, 2010
French Crepes with Pecan-Crusted Chicken & Sauteed Peaches
***What inspires you? Maybe it's a perfect, sun-filled day on the beach with the sand between your toes. Or, maybe it's your faith, time spent with your family or your friends. All of these wonderful things inspire me, along with one other obvious choice - food. Food brings families together after a long day at the office. A bowl of my GrannyRene's Chicken & Dumplings recipe has the power to put a smile on my face and bring tears to my eyes all at the same time. That was always her specialty.
Not only is food vital to our existence, but it can be a source of creativity and fun. To me, an empty plate is my blank canvas. It's hard to beat the feeling you get when you put a smile on someone's face with a delicious meal.
Every once in a while, something will inspire me to think up a new and original recipe. If you're a fan of the TV show The Next Food Network Star, you know that all of the contestants have a specific "point-of-view" (aka P.O.V.) for their cooking. Their P.O.V. is what describes their food...Some examples might be: cooking family style, meals on a budget, healthy latin food, gluten-free meals, etc. In other words, what will the winner's TV show be all about? Just for fun, I started wondering what my P.O.V. would be. The answer came to me several months ago, and I've had fun thinking up recipes since then.
My concept would be the perfect reflection of my cooking: It would be a fusion of classic Southern dishes and French cuisine....recipes that combine the two cultures to create new and exciting foods (You know, think about a southern belle's take on french food!)....Let's call it Southern-French fusion. This recipe for "French Crepes with Pecan-Crusted Chicken & Sauteed Peaches" certainly falls under that category. This dish is my interpretation of the popular southern combination of "Fried Chicken & Waffles." It could also be a different spin on "Chicken Georgia", which combines chicken with pecans and fresh peaches.
This dish came out even better than I had imagined. The flavors were fresh, yet hearty at the same time. The sweetness of the crepe paired perfectly with the savoriness of the pecan-crusted chicken. The sauteed peaches added a delightful freshness and balance to the overall dish, and the baby spinach added a pop of color and crunch. Each bite was filled with great textures and flavors...This is one I'm both excited and proud of.
Brad and I both fell in love with this recipe. Brad described it as "exceptional," and said that it was worthy of any 5-star restaurant. Now, he may be a littled biased, but you know that made me smile! I think that this dish will also put a smile on your face!
French Crepes with Pecan-Crusted Chicken & Sauteed Peaches:
2 egg whites
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 small bag baby spinach
Sauteed peaches, recipe below
Crepes, recipe below
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a shallow bowl, lightly beat the egg whites.
In a separate shallow bowl, combine the pecans, bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. Dip each chicken breast in egg white, until completely coated. Dredge in pecan mixture, making sure that each chicken breast is completely coated.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Add both chicken breasts, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
Let chicken stand for 10 minutes. Cut chicken into 1/4-inch thick slices.
***While the chicken is baking in the oven, go ahead and start making the peaches and crepes.
For the Sauteed Peaches:
4 peaches, peeled and cut into small wedges
1/4 cup light brown sugar
4 tbsp butter or margarine
Juice of two large lemons
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice; stir well. Next, add the peach slices. Stir until the peaches are completely coated with the sugar mixture. Continue to simmer over low heat until the sauce begins to thicken and the peaches are perfectly tender, stirring often.
***Once the peaches are simmering over low heat, move on to the crepes. Keep a close eye on the peaches, being careful not to let them over-cook.
For the Crepes:
***This recipe makes about 9 crepes, so you will probably have a few extras. I used my extra crepes to make dessert - Nutella & Banana Crepes! You can fill them with just about any of your favorite flavors...get creative!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat eggs and milk together until combined. Turn off mixer and add flour, sugar and salt all at once. Beat until smooth; stir in melted butter.
Heat a 10" skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, spray thoroughly with Pam cooking spray. Using a soup ladle, pour the batter into the skillet, using approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter for each crepe. Tip and rotate the skillet to spread batter as thinly as possible. Brown on both sides and transfer to a plate.
***You'll know when it's time to flip each crepe, when tiny bubbles start appearing on the top of the batter...just like when making pancakes! The top of the crepe will begin to appear dry. Once this happens, you know it's time to flip! Also, if you try to flip the crepe too early, it will break and/or fall apart. Be patient...it may take a few practice crepes before you get the hang of it. Don't give up...You'll be a crepe flipping master before you know it!
Transfer the crepe to a plate and place about 4-6 large baby spinach leaves on one half of the crepe. Top with the chicken and sauteed peaches. Fold the other half of the crepe onto the chicken filling. Place a few slices of the peaches on the top of the folded crepe and finish it off with a drizzle of the peach sauce from the pan.