From Chef Patrick Connolly of Rider in Brooklyn, NY.
Why he went with a chicken breast–based dish...
It’s your healthiest option, but the trick is to not make it so bland. And people don’t realize how versatile chicken breasts can be. You don’t have to just throw them in a pan or bake them, as most guys do. That said, I recommend a dish that’s inspired by salt-cod cakes or crab cakes. Chicken translates great for this dish because the sugars from a vegetable puree will bind the whole thing together; it’ll be crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside. And the presentation will be much better than BBQ, trust me.
How to pull it off on the fly...
First, cook your rice.
While that’s boiling, season the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Add some olive oil to a saucepan. Cook it on medium-high for 5 minutes. Flip it. Another 5 minutes. (If it starts to smoke, turn the heat down.) Cut open a lime; squeeze the entire lime onto the chicken. Add a bit of butter. Turn the heat off. Let it sit there for 10 minutes. You now have a nicely roasted, caramelized chicken breast. Now mince it into little bits. Pour the chicken back into the saucepan; add the cooked rice.
Shake your frozen veggies in a ziplock bag. Pound the bag with your fist—mash it up. Add them
to the chicken pan with more salt, pepper, olive oil. Mix it all together. Keep stirring. (You should now have a blended mix of the chicken, rice, and vegetable paste.)
Now form little cakes, or “pucks.” You can shape them with your hands—like hamburger patties, basically—or use a jar lid like a cookie cutter. Crisp the pucks—this adds a touch of the gourmet, man!—by putting them back on the stove: medium-high, a bit of oil, 3 minutes per side. The sugars from the vegetable puree will bind the whole thing together. Now it’s crisp on the outside, chewy inside.
And for that side dish...
Cold bean salad. Run cold water over the beans, strain them, and add olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime. Easy!
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