Although none of us wants to devote more than 45 minutes to getting dinner on the table during the workweek, we still want to eat well. Now that children are back to school, time is even more critical. In Sara Moulton Cooks at Home, I included four quick family-friendly chicken recipes that you can have on the table in a hurry. In each, thin pieces of chicken breast are seasoned and floured, fried quickly, and set aside while a sauce is prepared in the same pan. In this version you make a quick fresh tomato sauce or an even quicker sauce using prepared fresh salsa.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 ounces each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes or 2 cups store-bought fresh salsa
1 cup homemade chicken stock or canned broth
1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil leaves
Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sprinkle a small amount of water on a large skeet of plastic wrap. Place 2 of the breast halves on top of the plastic and sprinkle again with water. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or meat pounder until about 14 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining 2 breast halves.
Mix the flour with the salt and pepper in a shallow pie plate. Heat half the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Working in 2 batches, place the chicken in the flour mixture and turn to coat on all sides Shake off the excess flour and add to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate or platter and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with the remaining butter and chicken.
Add the shallot and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes or salsa, stir in the stock, and simmer for 8 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer, turning often, until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to warm serving plates. Stir in the basil and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon over the chicken and serve at once.