~This recipe was the weekly Petit Plaisir inspired by the topic discussed in episode #234 of the podcast – Becoming Your Best Self: Embracing the Transformation Process
Last week I was exhausted and happy all at the same time, and of course, I was also hungry. It was Wednesday, and as many of you know, Tuesday is the day of the week new books drop. Michelle Obama’s new memoir had arrived at my house the day before, and I was eager to settle in and begin reading. I also wanted to have something delicious, but simple to eat. So as I shared in my Instagram pic above, the night involved two pleasures, a good book and a simple, yet luxurious meal – Chicken Parmesan and Toasted Forbidden Rice (aka Black Rice), and yes, a little bit of white wine as well.
Many readers, after having shared images and one video from my kitchen while making it, asked for the recipe for both, and so below you will find the recipe for Parmesan Chicken and Toasted Forbidden/Black Rice (along with all of its health benefits). As well, many readers were curious about cooking with this new-to-them grain, and so I am happy to share how I was introduced to it and why I cook and enjoy it quite often.
My introduction to black rice was on the Oregon coast during one of my relaxing stays at Gearhart Ocean Inn at the local and acclaimed seafood restaurant Pacific Cafe.
The black rice was silky, flavorful and a bed for the freshly caught halibut that punctuated a very memorable first getaway with my dogs to the Oregon Coast (not my first, but my first with my boys – you can see our full excursion here).
Since that meal, I have been purchasing black rice as a regular staple in my home épicerie, and have also learned of its many health benefits which further strengthen my preference for black rice over all other rice.
Did you know that black rice has the highest amount of antioxidants than any other rice variety? It is also a great source for iron, is naturally gluten-free, can help reduce heart disease and is a great source of fiber. Phew! That is an abundance of awesome reasons to enjoy this grain. (Learn more here.)
With all of that said, I usually keep it pretty simple in the kitchen when I make a side of black rice. Whether I make it as a bed for salmon, sole Meunière or Parmesan chicken as seen above, it tastes wonderful toasted in a little butter, finished with a little butter and flavored with a pinch of salt. That’s it!
Below you will find the recipe for both Toasted Forbidden Rice and Parmesan Chicken, a regular weekly protein option I gravitate toward that offers flavor and simplicity. Paired together along with a side of roasted vegetables, it is hard to beat this easy meal that provides a balanced source of nutrients.
~Regarding Becoming by Michelle Obama, a lovely article was shared in The Washington Post about her mother Marianne Robinson which is worth checking out. During a recent interview with CBS’s Gayle King, when asked what made her the proudest about her daughter, Robinson stated, “When I grow up I would like to be like Michelle Obama.” And Michelle’s response to hearing her mother’s words of praise is priceless as well. Read it all here.
Parmesan Chicken & Toasted Forbidden Rice
- 2 breasts chicken (4 chicken tenders would be a simple substitution)
- 1/8 cup flour
- 1 medium egg
- 1/8 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/8 cup shredded Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley optional
Toasted Forbidden/Black Rice
- 1/3 cup forbidden or black rice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pinch coarse sea salt
- In a sauce pan, place 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and the black rice on medium heat. Let the butter melt and once it has, stir with a wooden spatula or spoon until the rice is coated in butter. Let toast for about 2-4 minutes.
- Add 3 cups of water (approximately -all excess will be drained) to the saucepan with the toasted rice. Add a pinch of coarse sea salt and bring to boil.
- Once the water is boiling, reduce to medium-high about 6-7 on a scale of 10. Leave uncovered and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, make the Parmesan Chicken. Tenderize the chicken (breasts of tenders). Place the chicken between two pieces of wax paper and using the smooth side of a meat mallot, tenderize until half their original thickness.
- Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place a skillet on the stove to medium heat, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, and while it is warming up, prepare the chicken.
- Create an assembly line of three dishes: the first, your flour; second, a wide bowl of the egg mixed as though you are preparing to make an omelette (you may add a little water if you would like); third, a plate of mixed panko breadcrumbs and grated parmesan, add a dash of coarse sea salt and pepper and the finely chopped herbs if you would like.
- Dredge each breast/tender into the flour - both sides - shake off the excess; then into the egg wash; then coat with panko and parmesan. Place into the heated skillet and cook until beautifully golden brown on both sides (about 3-4 minutes each side). You may want to add more olive oil when you flip the chicken to the second side. Place on a plate and add the finished rice (instructions below).
- Back to the rice. Once the 20-25 minutes are up and the rice is al dente, drain through a strainer. Place the drained rice back into the saucepan, add a tablespoon of unsalted butter, mix until the butter is melted and incorporated and serve with the Parmesan Chicken.