Chicken florentine is a buffet-line favorite featuring chicken breast and spinach in a mild cream-and-Parmesan sauce — sometimes stuffed inside, sometimes stacked on top.
We wanted a simplified recipe for an elegant dish with clearer, brighter flavors. Braising was the perfect technique to achieve this.
Start to finish: 45 minutes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 ounces (12 cups) baby spinach
4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless
Chicken breasts, trimmed
Salt and pepper
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus
1 teaspoon juice
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer spinach to colander set over bowl and press with spoon to release excess liquid; discard liquid.
Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Wipe out pan with paper towels and heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken on both sides until golden, about 4 minutes. Add shallot and garlic to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, water, and cream and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes; transfer chicken to large plate and tent with aluminum foil. Continue to simmer sauce until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan and lemon zest and juice.
Cut breasts crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices and arrange on broiler-safe platter. Scatter spinach over chicken and pour sauce over spinach. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan and broil until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve.