Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chicken in White Wine Broth with Pan-Seared Rapini

Rapini, also called broccoli rabe (“rob”), is an earthy, slightly pungent leafy green vegetable similar to turnip greens, and especially popular in Italian cuisine. Its small buds resemble tiny heads of broccoli—therefore, its alternate name.

Rapini is mostly about the leaves, but all parts are edible except for the thickest parts of the stems. For this recipe, I coarsely chopped the trimmed stems, leaves, and buds to allow the vegetable to cook more quickly as a sauté with olive oil and garlic. 

Rapini can be braised, steamed, or stir-fried too, and sometimes it’s blanched in boiling water first to help soften the tougher parts. I don't use that method because I think it depletes the true taste, texture, and nutrients. 

Here, I simply sautéed the rapini to retain a bit of texture in the stems and to let it soak up that great garlicky taste without overcooking. However you prepare it, keep other ingredients and seasoning to a minimum. Garlic, good oil, and a little salt and pepper enhance rapini’s flavor without getting in its way.

Like other leafy greens, rapini cooks quickly and shrinks considerably. Don’t be shy with quantity.

Tip: Basil leaves darken quickly when cut or torn, so don't cut them into ribbons until just before using.

Serves 4


For the Chicken and Broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 6- to 7-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons, for garnish
For the Rapini
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4-5 packed cups coarsely chopped rapini leaves, buds, and small stems (1 large bunch)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Chopped Rapini

For the Chicken and Broth
  1. Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature (to keep the cooked chicken warm).
  2. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown on the bottom, 5-6 minutes.
  3. Turn and sear until golden on the other side and just cooked through, 5-6 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm in the oven.
Chicken Beginning to Sear 
Chicken after Turning
  1. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the wine to the skillet, scraping up brown bits. Cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the broth and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring well, 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice.
Wine Added to Skillet 
Broth Added to Skillet
White Wine Broth
To serve, place a chicken breast half on each of 4 plates and spoon white wine broth on top. Garnish with basil ribbons and serve the sautéed rapini (recipe follows) alongside.

For the Rapini
  1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.
  2. Add the rapini and season generously with salt and pepper. Sauté 1-2 minutes, until the rapini wilts and absorbs the olive oil. 
Garlic in Oil
Rapini Beginning to Cook
Cooked Rapini

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