Fresh from the farmers’ market: Sauteed Rosemary Chicken Breasts with Lemony Snap Peas and Garlic Scapes

Marnie writes: So I picked up some garlic scapes at the farmers market, but have no idea how to use them or even if I want to. They looked cool.  I also have chicken breasts for dinner as well as these sugar snap peas that are super sweet. I would like to put everything into one dish though I know that the strawberries might not work: I’m almost certain they won’t.

Tony’s take: Marnie, that’s a nice haul that you’ve got there. Garlic scapes are cool, one of those little culinary adventures you can take at this time year that really aren’t that scary but will give you kitchen cred with your friends (…nonchalantly, “So I was cooking garlic scapes the other night…”).  These curly greens strands are the shoots from immature bulbs of garlic – farmers snip them off so the garlic grows more quickly. Scapes are similar to green beans in texture (think tender haricot verts) and somewhere between chives and scallions in flavor: garlicky, but gentle and refined. I like to thinly slice them and then toss into sautés, braises, and scrambled eggs. You do have a perfect set-up for a 1-pan sauté. Saute those cool chicken breasts (which look like they have the skin on but are boneless) skin-side down kind of like a duck breast  so the skin gets nice and browned. Then reserve the chicken while you saute the snap peas and scapes. Add some grape or cherry tomatoes if you like (a little color and acidity to perk up the chicken), stir in some lemon juice and a pat of butter, and nap over the chicken. Summery? Definitely. Intrepid? A little. Tasty? I hope you agree, Marnie!

Serves 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes     Cook Time: 10 minutes

What you need: Ingredients: Chicken breasts (boneless, skin-on if you can find them; 1 1/2 lb. about 3), fresh rosemary (or thyme), S+P, snap peas (about 1/2 lb.), garlic scapes (2 or 3, or scallions), grape tomatoes (1/2 pt., about 12),  lemon (1), olive oil, butter.

Equipment: Saute pan (preferably 12 inches and heavy-based), wooden spoon, cutting board, chef”s knife

How to do it: Get prepped: Rinse the chicken breasts and then pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (or thyme) and salt and pepper (be generous – about 1 1/4 tsp. and 3/4 tsp. respectively). Stem the snap peas and cut in half. Rinse the garlic scapes, discard any browned ends, and then thinly slice.  Zest and juice the lemon.

Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 Tbs. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the butter melts and its foam off cooks off. Add the chicken breasts (skin side down if they have) and cook, without touching for a couple of minutes, until they brown and easily release from the pan when you lift up a corner, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, flip, and cook the other side in the same manner so the chicken is browned and mostly firm to the touch (it won’t be quite cooked through), about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Add another (1) Tbs. olive oil and the snap peas, grape tomatoes, and garlic scapes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, about 1/2 tsp. each, and cook, stirring, until the snap peas start to brown in places and soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup water (or chicken broth if you have), 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice, and the lemon zest. Cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes so the snap peas are tender. Tuck the chicken breasts and 1 Tbs. butter into the pan, spoon the vegetables and broth on top, and cook, until the chicken becomes firm to the touch and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the vegetables and some rice or a tiny pasta like orzo.

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