SAUTÉED CHICKEN CUTLETS

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Sautéed chicken cutlets are a breeze to prepare, but their brief cooking time and lack of skin leaves very little fond behind with which to build a pan sauce. With this dilemma in mind, we sought out a sauce that packed big flavor and could be made before the chicken even hit the skillet. Romesco sauce—a thick, coarse Spanish concoction of roasted red peppers, toasted hazelnuts, bread, sherry vinegar, olive oil, smoked paprika, and garlic—was simple to whizz together in a food processor and boasted a bold flavor profile. Starting with those key elements, we added a touch of honey to focus the ingredients’ impact and a pinch of cayenne for pleasant heat. With the pepper sauce under our belt, we used the same blueprint to create equally easy sun-dried tomato and tomatillo sauces. For the chicken, partially freezing the breasts before halving firmed them up for easy slicing. We browned the cutlets in a hot oiled pan and, in just under 3 minutes, they were ready to be served with our simple, bold red pepper sauce.

SERVES 4

The cutlets will be easier to slice in half if you freeze them for about 15 minutes.

4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, halved horizontally, and pounded ¼ inch thick
Kosher salt and pepper
4 teaspoons vegetable oil

Pat cutlets dry with paper towels; sprinkle each side of each cutlet with ⅛ teaspoon salt and season with pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place 4 cutlets in skillet and cook, without moving, until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip cutlets and continue to cook until second sides are opaque, about 30 seconds. Transfer to platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining 4 cutlets and remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Serve.

Quick Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP

You will need at least a 12-ounce jar of roasted red peppers for this recipe.

½ slice hearty white sandwich bread, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed and patted dry
tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper

Heat bread, hazelnuts, and 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until bread and hazelnuts are lightly toasted, 2½ to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer bread mixture to food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 5 pulses. Add red peppers, vinegar, honey, paprika, salt, cayenne, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to processor. Pulse until finely chopped, 5 to 8 pulses. Transfer to bowl and let stand for at least 10 minutes. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Quick Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP

For the best taste and texture, make sure to rinse all the dried herbs off the sun-dried tomatoes.

½ slice hearty white sandwich bread, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 small tomato, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt

Heat bread, pine nuts, and 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until bread and pine nuts are lightly toasted, 2½ to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer bread mixture to food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 5 pulses. Add tomato, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, vinegar, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to processor. Pulse until finely chopped, 5 to 8 pulses. Transfer to bowl and let stand for at least 10 minutes. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Quick Tomatillo Sauce

MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP

You will need at least a 15-ounce can of tomatillos for this recipe.

½ slice hearty white sandwich bread, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup pepitas
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 cup canned tomatillos, rinsed
2 tablespoons jarred sliced jalapeños plus 2 teaspoons brine
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon salt

Heat bread, pepitas, and 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until pepitas and bread are lightly toasted, 2½ to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer bread mixture to food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 5 pulses. Add tomatillos, jalapeños and brine, cilantro, honey, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to processor. Pulse until finely chopped, 5 to 8 pulses. Transfer to bowl and let stand for at least 10 minutes. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

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