Little Italy Garlic Chicken is…
….Butter, Chicken, Garlic and Parsley plus a little lemon added to it. That is the whole shebang.
Once again we have a “Quick and easy Recipe for Busy People” that is real real good.
Way back, when we lived in New Jersey we would frequently zip over to Little Italy in Manhattan for dinner.
Our very most favorite restaurant was this little place on Mulberry Street in Little Italy called the Grotto Azzurra aka The Blue Gratto in street speak.
It was opened in 1908 by a family of Italian immigrants and was named after the Blue Grotto on the isle of Capri. Which is just offshore from Naples.
When we were going there it was one level below street level and only had about 10 tables.
Frank Sinatra used to go there when he was in town as did Robert Dinero.
Whenever we were there there were always a few “mob” looking types that you did not make eye contact with.
When we got in – after a wait in line – the server would immediately – and before any conversation – put a pitcher with some slices of oranges and lemons in it on the table and then pour in a bottle of red wine which then became Sangria. No questions asked, they would just do it for every party that came in.
I would almost always order the Garlic Chicken. It was, like so many good Italian recipes, simple and made with just a few fresh ingredients.
What I was served at the “Blue Gratto” very apparently was chicken thighs – skin on and bone in – marinated in a garlic and oil mixture for at least a few hours, more likely over night.
Dredged in flour and sautéed in good olive oil with sliced garlic added at the last minute of the frying process.
It would arrive with the garlic slices spooned over the chicken and topped with some chopped parsley and with just a little taste of lemon.
It was fantastic!
After dinner we would walk around Little Italy for a little while and find our way around the corner to Ferrara’s Bakery and Cafe and have some of their world class Sfogliatella and/or……
with their made to order espresso that was brought to the table in the pot that it was made in and if you asked nice and had a history of tipping good a little Sambuca would magically appear in the bottom of your cup.
Forgive me when I say that I think that I have improved a little on the Blue Gratto version of Garlic Chicken….
….well,, for our “Quick and Easy” requirements anyway.
We don’t have time to marinate the chicken like they did at the Blue Gratto so let’s do it like this.
You can get pre trimmed and flattened chicken breasts in the grocery store or you could butterfly your chicken breasts and flatten them a little while wrapped in glad wrap.
For quick and easy I always have some of the pre trimmed version in the freezer and just thaw them out in the microwave.
Put a skillet on at medium high and swirl in enough olive oil to cover the bottom.
Salt and pepper both sides of the breasts and pan fry them in the skillet for about 4-5 minutes a side.
When the liquid sneaking out of the breasts is clear and/or they are firm to a finger poke remove them to a plate that will catch the drippings.
While the chicken is cooking chop up the garlic cloves or just go with that pre chopped version that you can find in jars in the produce section and chop up the parsley leaves. Have the fresh lemon ready.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter, let it melt and put the garlic in the skillet. Give the garlic just a minute or just until it starts to become fragrant. Put the chicken breasts and the drippings back in, squeeze the lemon juice in and toss in the rind. Turn them and spoon the butter and garlic on them as they warm back up.
When the chicken is warm, almost hot to the touch put in the parsley and do a little more of the turning and spooning.
Serve it up! Buon Appetito!
I put together some sautéed spinach as our veggie tonight and since we had some garlic and good extra virgin olive oil on hand (always) I had some pasta aglio e olio. Gammy eats gluten free so I put together some “spaghetti squash aglio e olio” for her.
Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio was our vino of choice to go with our Little Italy Garlic Chicken.