- Make sure the pan is hot enough before adding the chicken. Add the oil to the skillet and wait until smoke rises before gently laying the cutlets in the pan, ideally without any of the cutlets touching one another.
- Pound the cutlets so that they are even in thickness. Uneven cutlets will cook unevenly. Use a meat pounder or the bottom of a small skillet. Don’t pound too hard because the meat can break apart.
- Dredge the seasoned cutlets in flour to ensure thorough browning and an appealing crust.
- Keep the cutlets warm in a low oven while you prepare the pan sauce.
- The browned bits left behind by the cutlets (called fond by the French) may not look like much, but they add valuable flavor to the pan sauce. Make sure to scrape them up off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon so that they become incorporated into the sauce.
- Keep the butter cold and whisk it into the sauce piece by piece to keep the sauce emulsified.
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Serves 4 Using a 12-inch skillet is crucial here so that there is enough room for the chicken to brown. If you'd like a cream sauce, simply replace the butter with 4 tablespoons of heavy cream and simmer it until thickened. Parsley, basil, thyme, or dill can be substituted for the tarragon. Chicken 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Vermouth Sauce 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 shallot , minced 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth 1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces and chilled 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried Salt & Ground black pepper 1. For the chicken: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven ot 200 degrees. Spread the flour in a shallow dish. 2. Pound the thicker ends of the breasts as needed to make the breast uniform in thickness. Pat dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Dredge through the flour to coat and shake off any excess. 3. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and and keep warm in the oven. 4. For the sauce: Add the oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and vermouth, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reached and slightly syrupy, about 8 minutes. 5. Stir in any accumulated chicken juice. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Off the heat, stir in the tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the chicken before serving.
How to Pan-Sear Chicken and Make a Pan Sauce
1. Add the oil to a cold skillet and heat over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke. This can take several minutes. 2. Gently lay the floured chicken in the skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. 3. Place the chicken in a very low oven while making the pan sauce. 4. Return the skillet to the stove, add more oil, and cook some aromatics (such as shallots, onions, or garlic). 5. Stir in some wine and/or broth, scraping up any browned bits, then let the mixture simmer until it has reduced and thickened to a slightly syrupy consistency. 6. Finally, whisk in the butter, one piece at a time.