While living in one of the coolest places ever, the Yellow Brick House, I had a fabulously artistic roommate named Kacey who presented me with this book for my 22nd birthday.

It’s an awesome gift, and I love looking at it, but I’m about 20 years away from actually being able to cook things out of it on a regular basis. It has no pictures (other than a few stenciled drawings) and I think that it assumes when I am cooking chicken I am first going to head out back and start choppin’ away at necks in the chicken coop. I’m rather intimidated by most of the names of the dishes. If I can’t get past the name, how will I ever find a way to assemble the ingredients correctly?

Last week I decided to overcome my apprehension and cook something out of the book for the first time. The results were quite delicious, probably because I picked the easiest recipe possible.

Sauteed Fillets of Breast of Chicken with Lemon and Parsley, Siena Style

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

3 whole chicken breasts

The freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt

Black pepper

Directions

1. Put the oil and 3 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and turn on the heat to medium high. When the butter foam subsides, slip in as many of the chicken fillets as will fit loosely. Cook them briefly on both sides, less than 1 minute altogether. Transfer the fillets to a warm plate, using a slotted spoon or spatula, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat the procedure until all the fillets are done.

2. Add the lemon juice to the skillet, and let it simmer briskly over medium heat for about 20 seconds, while scraping loose cooking residues from the bottom and sides of the pan, using a wooden spoon. Add the chopped parsley and the remaining tablespoon of butter, stir rapidly for 4 or 5 seconds , then turn the heat down to low and return the fillets to the pan together with any juice they may have shed in the plate. Turn them over in the pan juices 2 or 3 times, then transfer, together with the juices, to a warm platter. Garnish with the thin slices of lemon, and serve at once.

I don’t know what the cooks call it, but the “pan residue” that remains after the chicken is removed tastes absolutely divine. The butter, lemon, parsley, and chicken juice combine to create a lick your fingers kind of experience.

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