Chicken a la Fiorentina

Chicken a la Fiorentina
This is the classic dish made ala minute on the line when I worked at Le Ciel Bleu in Chicago. It takes just one pan for everything and relies upon the flour, shallot and garlic as the heart of the sauce. A classic Mornay sauce would suffice but I think the Gruyère takes away the delicate nature of the spinach. I added crème fraiche and cream for a final boost of lusciousness which is cut by that final squirt of lemon.
Recipe type: Entree
  • 1 large chicken breast (11 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh shallot, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 5 ounces fresh flat leaf spinach, stems removed
  • ½ cup dry white wine or rose
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraiche
  • ½ cup half and half (or ¼ cup heavy cream)
  • 3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Spritz of lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut the chicken breasts lengthwise between ⅛ to ¼ inch to produce 5 pieces or escalopes.
  2. Season each side well with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Dredge the escalopes in the flour and shake well before placing in the oil.
  5. Cook on each side for 3 to 4 minutes making sure the butter doesn’t burn.
  6. When the chicken has golden browned and cooked through, remove from the pan and turn up the heat to high.
  7. Add the garlic, shallot and parsley to the pan and stir for 30 seconds to start the cooking process.
  8. Add the wine and turn back down to medium-high heat while rubbing the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the nasty bits off the pan.
  9. Add 2 more tablespoons of the butter and reduce the mix by half or for 2 to 3 minutes, but not until too dry.
  10. Add the spinach, waiting for 15 seconds until turning the pile over and over to start a wilting process.
  11. Once the spinach has started to wilt, add the half-and-half, crème fraiche and the Parmigiano and stir all together. If you wish a more structured sauce, you may add more crème fraiche and/or cheese.
  12. Taste the spinach for salt and pepper, add the chicken back to the pan to heat up and turn the heat off.
  13. As soon as the chicken heats back up, plate by adding a little spinach on the bottom then layering the chicken like steps across the spinach.
  14. Then place one nice green stripe of spinach down the middle.
  15. Spritz with the lemon and add it to the plate.