Chicken Breasts with Pear
2 tbsp. hazelnuts, skinned, toasted, finely chopped
2 tbsp. parsley, finely minced
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly grounded white pepper
Pinch each of coriander and cardamom
2 Bosc or Anjou pears, peeled, cored, cut into 8-lengthwise wedges
½ cup pear nectar
½ cup dry white wine or sherry
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup applejack brandy or eau-de-vie
1 cup whipping cream
In small bowl, mix hazelnuts, parsley and lemon zest. Set aside. Pat chicken dry and season with coriander, cardamom, salt and pepper.
In a medium skillet, add pears, pear nectar, wine and lemon juice; simmer over medium-low heat until pears are soft, but still firm. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
In a heavy skillet, melt oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, add shallots and garlic and continue cooking until juice from chicken is clear. Pour brandy into side of skillet, ignite with gas flame from burner or long match, being extremely careful of high flame from skillet. Shake skillet; the flame will burn off quickly. Transfer chicken to a pre-warmed, oven-proof platter. Set aside, keep warm. Drain the pear cooking liquid into skillet and boil over high heat. Reduce by half, scraping bottom of pan. Add cream and reduce by half again. Adjust salt and pepper, and add 1 tbsp. of butter. To serve, pour sauce over chicken and garnish with pear slices. Sprinkle top of chicken with hazelnut mixture.
May be served with sautéed mushrooms and rice pilaf…and of course a glass of Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay!