Pan-seared (skillet) chicken

Examine my whole rant on chicken and fowl. There is a great deal of useful information especially if you wish to understand the reasons behind this recipe.

I often slice chicken breasts in half through the middle to make them thinner. For me, this achieves serving more people with less meat (I make a few more than what I need for the bigger eaters in the crowd), makes for easier cooking and thinner cuts of chicken breast are more appetizing.


Serves 4-6 people


  4 chicken breasts
  1 tbsp olive oil
  1 tbsp high-temperature oil (like peanut)
  1 tsp olive oil
  1 tsp high-temperature oil (like peanut)
  1 tbsp butter
  1 small shallot, minced
  6 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  ½ cup white wine
  1 cup chicken stock
  2 tbsp cold butter
  1 tbsp lemon juice
  1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or “Italian seasoning”


0. Purchase boneless chicken breasts of good quality. Do not keep these in the refrigerator longer than two or three days. If you need to wait, freeze them.

1. Wash and trim breasts of all their fat, connective tissue and silver skin. Using a very sharp unserrated knife with the blade held parallel to your work surface, slice carefully through the breast from the thickest part to the other end taking care to keep the resulting slabs roughly equal in size. You end up with two filets still shaped like chicken breast.

2. Brine for no more than ½ hour in a solution of cold water and ½ cup Kosher salt. You can also add a commercial vinaigette, spices, etc. at this time.

2. Drain off the brine and wash the filets thoroughly. Dry with paper towels and set aside on a plate ready to cook. While this recipe is for pan-seared chicken breasts, you can choose to grill them on the barbecue in which case do not dredge them in flour.

3. Heat skillet with lower-grade olive oil or olive oil and high-temperature oil mixture until just before smoking.

4. Dredge the filets in flour and shake off all that you can. Season with pepper and spices if you wish.

5. Place the filets into the hot pan without them touching each other. Sear for a couple of minutes and turn over, sear for a couple more minutes. The first couple of times you do this, use an instant-read thermometer to check internal temperature, which should be at least 165° by the end of searing the second side.

At this point, another detour: you can choose to reduce cooking time to just what is needed to produce a caramelizating on the filets, not worrying to measure the temperature, then plunge them into your favorite sauce, pasta dish, etc. to finish them in that environment. This is how I do chicken glorioso. This is also the beginning of my chicken and broccoli in garlic cream sauce.

6. Tent the filets on a plate or rack while preparing the pan sauce.

7. After removing the meat and draining off excess fats and oil, return skillet nearly to smoking point with oil in it.

8. Put garlic and shallot into the pan and heat for 30 seconds. Add wine and stock to deglaze, scraping fond from bottom and sides of pan. Reduce liquid by one half.

9. Vigorously whip in butter bit by bit to thicken sauce. Add in lemon juice and thyme as well as season with salt and pepper to taste.