This repeat stunner combines some of our test kitchen’s favorite techniques for creating big, impressive flavors on a busy night. Here, perfectly seasoned chicken is seared in a hot pan until the skin gets golden and crispy. One batch of our simple shallot vinaigrette does twice the work. First, it’s a pan sauce made with the chicken’s flavorful juices. Then, it’s a dressing for Italian panzanella, a bread salad packed with seasonal vegetables. Multitasking at its finest.
¼ ounce parsley
1 red onion
12 ounces cubed butternut squash
1 small country bread
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
¼ cup + ½ tablespoon olive oil
8″ medium pot
10″ medium pan
Raw red onion has a strong flavor, so only use as much as desired. We suggest ½ cup for this panzanella.
“Deglazing” is a technique in which adding liquid, like vinaigrette, to the pan after cooking protein loosens any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Scrape them up into your pan sauce—they are full of flavor.
1. Prepare Ingredients
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse parsley and finely chop leaves, discarding stems. Peel shallot and mince. Peel onion, halve, and thinly slice as much as desired (see Recipe Tip). Halve squash cubes. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes to make croutons. Pat chicken dry with paper towel.
2. Boil Squash and Make Shallot Vinaigrette
Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in squash and boil until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, shallot, and 3 tablespoons olive oil to make shallot vinaigrette. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired, then set aside.
3. Pan Roast Chicken
Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Season chicken all over with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. When oil is shimmering, add chicken skin-side down and cook until skin is golden brown and easily lifts from pan, about 6 minutes. Flip and cook until cooked through and no longer pink, about 6 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
4. Bake Croutons
While chicken cooks, on a baking sheet, toss croutons with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Arrange in a single layer and bake until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes.
5. Make Pan Sauce
Once chicken is cooked, return pan to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons shallot vinaigrette and cook, scraping up bits from bottom of pan, until shallot is soft, about 1 minute (see Recipe Tip). Return chicken to pan and turn to coat with sauce.
6. Finish Panzanella and Plate Chicken
Add parsley, onion, squash, and croutons to bowl with remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat. Taste and add ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Divide panzanella evenly between 2 plates and garnish with Parmesan. Top with chicken, drizzle over pan sauce, and dig in!