Sautéed Chicken Breast with Lemon Caper Vermouth Sauce

Chicken with lemon caper vermouth sauce: DASH meal
Chicken breast with lemon caper vermouth sauce, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, garlic-sauteed Chinese broccoli. A DASH meal.

I needed a quick but satisfying dinner one night. I had chicken breast I needed to use, and some Chinese broccoli, but not much else. Using some pantry staples, I threw together a surprisingly tasty, sophisticated-tasting sauce of lemon, capers and vermouth, for a simply sautéed chicken breasts. I paired them with roasted potatoes and a quick garlicky stir-fry of Chinese broccoli; regular broccoli or broccoli rabe would work just fine.

I like having a cooking liquor or two on hand, exactly for times like this. (And I make sure I do!) Dry vermouth, a fortified wine with aromatics, is a good choice; so is cream sherry or amontillado. They are a little sweeter (even when it’s called “dry”) and more complex than wine, and instantly adds a magically satisfying body to simple dishes. Since a little goes a long way, they aren’t necessarily expensive. The best part is that unlike wine, they don’t go bad, so I have no pressure to “use up” an open bottle.

Print Recipe
Sautéed Chicken Breast with Lemon Caper Vermouth Sauce
DASH considerations: A simple sauteed chicken breast gets a tangy and subtly sweet upgrade from lemon juice and a dash of vermouth, while the occasional briny pop of the capers adds another dimension to this easy but surprisingly sophisticated-tasting dish. Pairing it with sauteed broccoli pushes up the meal’s fat content, so a salad might be a better idea for people following DASH diet closely.

DASH servings:
2 meats & fish
2 vegetables & fruits
2 fat & oil
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
For chicken
For broccoli
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
For chicken
For broccoli
Instructions
  1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil on high heat.
  2. Add a small pinch of salt once the water reaches boiling. Add the Chinese broccoli or broccoli rabe and blanch for 15-20 seconds. Drain thoroughly.
  3. Mix the lemon juice, lemon zest, capers, parsley and Vermouth in a small bowl.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.
  5. Add the garlic and chicken breasts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute and brown, flipping once.
  6. Pour the lemon juice mixture into the pan. Stir, lifting the fond (browned bits) from the bottom of the pan.
  7. Turn the heat off once the fond gets incorporated into the sauce.
  8. Place the chicken and sauce on serving plates. Wipe out the pan.
  9. Heat the olive oil in the pan over medium heat.
  10. Add the garlic and as much red chili flakes as you want to the pan and saute for 10-20 seconds, until fragrant.
  11. Add the blanched and drained broccoli and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the chicken.


Bright, Herby Frankfurter Green Sauce

DASH Recipe: Chicken Schnitzel with Frankfurter Green Sauce

DASH Recipe: Chicken Schnitzel with Frankfurter Green SauceIn Frankfurt, green sauce (grune sosse or grüne soße in German) is ubiquitous. The somewhat tartar-like sauce with a ton of herbs magically manages to be refreshing and hearty at the same time. Simple boiled vegetables like potatoes and broccoli get a serious upgrade with a dollop or two of this stuff–add a slice or two of ham, and you have a complete, satisfying meal. In this adapted version, I use common ingredients (think Greek yogurt instead of quark) and fewer herbs (bye bye, borage and burnet), but the bright, herby and hearty sauce comes out pretty close to the real deal.

A few years ago, we spent a couple of nights in Frankfurt on the way to and from a year-end vacation in Paris. One night, we went to an apfelwein inn where we sat on a communal bench, elbow-to-elbow with locals and tourists alike, drinking from a beautiful ceramic jug of the German hard cider. It was a cold winter night but inside the warm, steamy inn, the atmosphere was jovial and convivial, just as I’d imagine an old roadside inn serving locals and travelers hundreds of years ago.

I had a giant plate of schnitzel with boiled potatoes, topped with a local green sauce. A delightfully bright, herby and creamy sauce made with (I guessed) sour cream and a ton of herbs, the sauce was a perfect accompaniment to the earthy potatoes and hearty schnitzel. Apfelwein kept flowing, our tummies got full, and we trekked back to our hotel happy and satiated.

When Hubby picked up a can of genuine apfelwein from a beer store nearby, all this fond memory came back, and I had to make some schnitzel with this green sauce to go with the cider. I got a-Googling. As it turned out, the Frankfurt-style green sauce contains a hard boiled egg, which gives the sauce a subtle savory body and extra richness, similar to how boiled eggs work in tartar sauce.

I also found out that the green sauce calls for quite a few types of herbs, some of which I hadn’t even heard of. Since I didn’t want to end up with a fridge full of wilting herbs, I decided to get just a couple: Watercress, which is easy to consume in a salad; parsley, which can go into a stock or chimichurri sauce; and chives, which is totally versatile. Despite the omissions, the sauce came out pretty close to what I remembered. I love this sauce!

Print Recipe
Bright, Herby Frankfurter Green Sauce
DASH considerations: The Frankfurter green sauce might not be particularly great when seen from the DASH perspective. It does somewhat depend on what you compare it to, though: As a substitute for straight sour cream, for instance, this is a much lighter version with less fat and sneaky addition of greens. However, you wouldn't be eating a cup of this stuff, so it's kind of, sort of, negligible in the grand scheme of things...

DASH servings (for 2 tablespoon of the green sauce):
I would just count it as 1/2 serving of fat and maaaaaybe 1/4 serving of vegetables. The rest ends up being pretty miniscule.
DASH Recipe: Chicken Schnitzel with Frankfurter Green Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
DASH Recipe: Chicken Schnitzel with Frankfurter Green Sauce
Instructions
  1. Boil, cool and peel the egg. Chop the egg roughly.
  2. In a tall-sided bowl (I used the plastic container that came with my immersion blender), combine the egg, sour cream, Greek yogurt, watercress, parsley, chives and lemon juice. Using an immersion blender, blend until the ingredients form a more or less uniform, smooth mixture. (Add the extra virgin olive oil along with all the other ingredients, if using.)
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

There are so many possibilities with this sauce:

  • The first night, I served it traditional, with boiled potatoes, broccoli and a chicken schnitzel (that uses mustard instead of an egg as the coating agent, a neat trick I learned from Blue Apron).
  • It’s fantastic as a sandwich spread. I made a ham sandwich with cucumber and lettuce on bread smeared with this sauce for a hiking lunch, and it was glorious.
  • It would be lovely on top of potato pancakes, in place of sour cream.
  • We made a tasty New Year’s Eve appetizer of smoked salmon and cucumber on crackers with a dollop of the green sauce. Nom nom!

Any other ideas?

DASH Menu: Skirt Steak Wrap with Cumin Hummus & Roasted Carrot Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

For a quick weeknight dinner, I coupled a skirt steak wrap with a hearty and nutrient-packed roasted carrot and arugula salad, and made an earthy yet refreshingly bright lemon tahini dressing to complete the vaguely Middle Eastern feel of the menu. The hummus works so well as a sandwich or wrap spread–this wrap is otherwise pretty bland, but the cumin kick and creamy body of the hummus really make it into a satisfying meal.

Two regrets: I would have added toasted cumin to the lemon tahini dressing, if cumin wasn’t in the hummus-skirt steak wrap. Sprinkling the skirt steak with za’atar or sumac might have made the wrap even more interesting, with their floral zing. Next time!

Print Recipe
Skirt Steak Wrap with Cumin Hummus & Roasted Carrot Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
DASH considerations: This skirt steak wrap and roasted carrot salad combo violates a few DASH meal guidelines. First, I used skirt steak, because that’s what I had on hand, but it’s not one of the leaner meat options. You could easily substitute it with grilled chicken breast to make the protein part leaner. Second, it has a higher fat/oil content than many DASH recipes on this site, about half the daily limit for that category. You can probably skip the extra virgin olive oil in the lemon tahini dressing and rely entirely on the sesame oil contained in the tahini paste. This would cut down the fat & oil amount a bit (by about 0.25 serving). Or, you could opt for lower-fat meals for the other meals of the day.

DASH servings:
2 grains
1.75 vegetables & fruits
1 meats & fish
1.5 fat & oil
0.25 beans & nuts
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
For skirt steak wrap with cumin hummus
For roasted carrot salad with lemon tahini dressing
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
For skirt steak wrap with cumin hummus
For roasted carrot salad with lemon tahini dressing
Instructions
  1. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pepper strips.
  2. When the pepper pieces start to brown, place the skirt steak pieces on top to reheat.
  3. While the pepper and beef cook, make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, tahini, EVOO, scallions and red chili flakes in a bowl large enough to toss the salad in.
  4. Add the roasted carrots and arugula to the bowl and toss it well so the dressing evenly coats the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. When the peppers are cooked through, turn the heat off.
  6. If using pita, separate the two sides to make a pocket. Spread the hummus, stuff the pepper and steak, and top with cilantro.
  7. If using tortilla, spread the hummus and place the pepper and steak all the way down the middle. Top with cilantro and roll up the whole tortilla.

Homemade Hummus with Cumin

DASH Recipe: Cumin Hummus with Veggies

Oh my god, I had no idea homemade hummus was SO GOOD. I should have known this. Evidence abounds:

  1. The hummus we get at restaurants are probably homemade, and they are leaps and bounds better than the store-bought ones.
  2. My sister in law has been making her own hummus. She’s a cash-strapped grad student, so that must play a big role here, but she keeps making it. It’s got to be good.
  3. Everyone who blogs about cooking seems to be singing the glory of homemade hummus and endless varieties thereof.

Cumin Hummus Ingredients

I’ve been curious about making hummus for a long time. The final straw was the amazing specimen we had at Bar Virage in Lower East Side a few months ago: It was the best hummus I’ve ever had, and I wanted it to appear way more often in my life than it conceivably would, given that the “Israeli gastropub” is outside of our normal stomping ground. Anyway, the stars were aligned one day (read: I had all the ingredients on hand), and I made hummus. And holy cow, it was amazing.

Print Recipe
Homemade Hummus with Cumin
DASH benefits: Relatively low in fat, hummus is a good alternative to sugary snacks and a great source of non-meat protein. However, hummus can be high in sodium, especially if made with canned chickpeas (which is what I did). So, a few tricks on that front: 1) Use a low sodium version of canned chickpeas. 2) Eat the hummus with fresh veggies rather than pita chips that also contain salt.

DASH servings: ⅔ nuts & beans
1 fat & oil
DASH Recipe: Cumin Hummus with Veggies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
DASH Recipe: Cumin Hummus with Veggies
Instructions
  1. In a small, dry skillet, toast the cumin and red chili flakes over medium heat, until fragrant. This shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Be careful not to burn the spices.
  2. Grind the cumin and red chili flakes. You can use a mortar and pestle like I did, or use n electric spice grinder.
  3. Put all the ingredients in a deep container and use an immersion blender to combine. Pulse until smooth.

Using Up Homemade Hummus

The first day, we just scooped it up with fresh veggies and made it a refreshing yet satisfying dinner. We had tomato, celery, cucumber and red pepper, and decided that celery and red pepper were the winners. The other two didn’t have enough of a crunch and a little too high in water content.

Hummus stays fresh in the fridge for 5 days or so. And it’s really not hard to use it all up because it’s so versatile, but it freezes and thaws well if necessary. I had a little bit added to my lunch salads a couple of times throughout the week, and used up the rest as a spread in a skirt steak wrap with grilled green pepper and cilantro. It’s amazing how much it adds to an otherwise nondescript wrap or a sandwich!