Poaching: It's one of the smartest and easiest ways to prepare food without adding extra fat. The trouble is, because items often simmered in nothing more than salted water, the resulting dish can come out a little, well...boring. That doesn't have to be the case, so long as you know how to amp up the taste creatively.
This recipe, created by Stephen Kalt, executive chef at Fornelletto in Atlantic City, NJ, uses ginger, white wine and herbs—plus a bare minimum of canola—to give otherwise basic poached chicken an infusion of favor. Once you've prepped the ginger (you can do this ahead of time) it's a super quick dish to make; you can go from countertop to table in less than 20 minutes.
- 1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 3 ounces canola or other mild oil
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 quarts water
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp fennel seed, optional
- ½ onion, white or red
- 2 fileted and skinned chicken breast halves, 6-8 oz. each
Grate ginger into a bowl with ¼ tsp. salt and cover with the oil. Let sit for at least two hours to maximize flavor (you can warm the mixture over a low flame in a sauce pot for 5 minutes to speed the process, but do not boil). Bring the water, wine, bay leaf, fennel seed, onion and remaining salt to a boil. Add the chicken and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes. Turn off the flame and let the chicken sit in the warm liquid until ready to serve. When ready, remove the chicken from the broth, slice, and place on a plate. Serve with the ginger oil.
Stephen Kalt is the executive chef at Fornelletto at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ. In 2004, he was tapped to be Executive Chef of Wynn Las Vegas restaurant, Corsa Cucina where he received acclaim for his Mediterranean-inflected modern Italian menu. Prior to opening his celebrated restaurant at Wynn, he garnered national recognition as the co-creator and chef of the celebrated Mediterranean restaurant Spartina in New York City. During its reign, Spartina was named “Top 5 Neighborhood Restaurants in New York” by Food & Wine magazine and earned two stars from the New York Times.
Check out more recipes from Chef Stephen: