I had returned from a saucy weekend in Oxfordshire and had not done any shopping. ‘C’ left me suitably smirking all the way back home with her flirtatious antics in the way that you know you had fun, and in my dreamy gormless state I just ambled to the flat and to an empty cupboard without thinking about food.
The practicalities of arriving (unpacking, changing, laundry, etc) completed, I decide to set the mood. Stan Getz is humming his Bossa Nova beat and the wine is chilled and open (a Pugliese Giardini Falanghina from Sainsbury’s with citrus notes and some creamy elements from sitting on its lees, which should match the lemon zestiness that I am aiming for in the food) as I ready myself for chopping and frying. Everything is laid out in anticipation of a peppery, spicy chicken with a sharp, bittersweet taste tempered by a butter creaminess. So what did I find?
Chicken breast (sliced or cubed)
Unwaxed lemon (zested and juiced)
Salt and pepper
Rocket or baby leaf spinach
Spaghetti or similar pasta.
Finely chop the onion and celery and fry slowly in oil until translucent. Next put the chicken pieces into the pan and fry them until they have just lost their rawness. Season as appropriate. Next add a glass of wine (keep a second glass for yourself) and bring the heat up until it starts bubbling. Reduce this down so that most of it has evaporated. As this is happening throw in the lemon zest, garlic and chilli. Finally, turn down the heat, throw in the lemon juice and a knob of butter and let the sauce thicken to a more syrupy texture. Before serving, add the rocket (or in my case a half dead pack of baby leaf spinach) and stir in to wilt it slightly.
I think I would have preferred rocket as it doesn’t wilt so dramatically and has a better peppery flavour. I also wondered if polenta, the second handful from my blind attempt to reach into the cupboard, would have worked, but discarded that idea. In the end, the question is: Did I like it? I was hungry and there was nothing in, I had no choice... of course I liked it! Could I make a few tweaks? In my smirking, trance like state? I doubt it.