for those who burn to learn


Dec 2017

Potato Pancake with Pan Fried Chicken and Lemon Butter Sauce

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

If you want to make people of all ages happy at Hanukkah, this panfried entree, cooked quickly in good olive oil, is the way to go. The grated potato that tops the chicken in this dish is missing a few  ingredients (matzo meal, grated onion, potato starch, schmalz and egg) so it certainly is not a traditional latke. But the potato doesn’t need fillers when the real goal is to create a lacy and crisp pancake that perfectly complements the slender breast upon which it rests. Instead of serving this dish with applesauce, I like to serve it with a lemon butter sauce and a simple green salad strewn with toasted almonds and thinly sliced crisp apples. 

Butterflying the seasoned chicken breasts and trimming away excess fat is the secret to this dish. Each of your raw trimmed chicken fillets should weigh approximately 2 ounces and measure about 4 inches in length and 3 inches in width. The grated potato should provide a protective nest that is at least as long and slightly wider than the fillet. For best results, preheat your cast iron pans (To serve four people at the same time, you will need two 9 inch cast iron pans).  Add olive oil to the hot pans and wait a moment or two till the oil shimmers. Then add grated potatoes. Russets, by the way are high in starch content and really are the best choice for this dish.



Potato Pancake with Pan Fried Chicken and Lemon Butter Sauce
A perfect pan fried Hanukkah meal
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Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and trimmed so that each butterflied portion is about 4 inches in length and 3 inches in width
  2. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3. 1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
  4. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  5. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  6. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  7. 1/2 cup chicken stock
  8. 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  9. 2 Russet Potatoes
  1. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Dredge one side of chicken in flour and shake off excess.
  3. Heat a 9 inch cast iron skillet over high heat. Add 1/4 cup oil to pan. When oil shimmers, add two nests of coarsely grated potato (about 1/4 cup of potato per nest). Spread nests so that they are about 5 inches in length and four inches in width.
  4. Turn heat down to medium and add seasoned breasts to potato nests, flour side up. Cook undisturbed until potatoes are brown all over (about 2-3 minutes). Carefully slide a fish spatula under the crisp potato nest and flip chicken potato combo over. Allow chicken to cook for two minutes at medium heat. Season crispy potato top while chicken is cooking.
  5. Remove and transfer to platter.
  6. Turn up heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and repeat the cooking process and flipping technique and add finished fillets to the platter.
  7. Pour out some of the oil from the pan. Then return to heat and add lemon juice and stock. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan. Reduce liquid until there is about 1/3 cup of liquid left. Add 4 tablespoons butter and whisk vigorously. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of sauce on to plates. Place chicken fillets on top of sauce and garnish with chopped parsley.
  1. To butterfly the breast, put the chicken on a chopping board and, with your hand flat on top of it, use a sharp knife to slice into one side of the breast, starting at the thicker end and ending at the thin point. When you open the sliced breast, it should resemble a butterfly.
  2. Grate the potatoes by hand (on the coarse side of a box grater) just before you are ready to cook the dish as they will oxidize quickly and turn grey and then brown.
  3. This dish comes together even more quickly if you use two cast iron pans. Then all four chicken fillets finish cooking at about the same time.
  4. The trimmed fillets are small and this panfried treat is addictive, so you may need to make extras!
Jillyanna's Cooking School

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Jul 2016

Buckle Up for Blueberry Cake

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

Recently, I served this blueberry buckle to my students who arrived in the morning for a long Neapolitan Pizza Making Intensive. They loved this coffee cake so much that they devoured it for breakfast and, after making and eating several pizzas for lunch, the pizzaiolos pleaded for another slice for dessert. Even my Republican and Democratic friends, who do not see eye to eye on election issues or candidates, can agree wholeheartedly on one thing: this summery delight is a winner.

Like most “buckles” this coffeecake is loaded with fruit that is just held together with cake dough. The dough is scented with lemon rind and tenderized with buttermilk. Then the streusel topping is scattered over the whole thing and when the cake has baked in the oven for awhile, you can see the crisp crust start to buckle (hence the name). The last thing you do to this dessert, after you remove it from the oven, is drizzle the top with warm lemon syrup. I wish I was the genius who came up with this idea, but alas, I must give credit for this recipe to Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson and to David Leibovitz for his adaptation. The syrup does not make the cake too sweet, in my opinion. It does add moisture and it really brighten the taste of the blueberries. I prefer to use the large Maine blueberries for this dish. They tend not to crush as easily as the small ones and they were in abundance at the farmer’s market this past week-end.

Just a few tips: Try to use organic lemons as you will be grating the rind into your sugar. Make sure all your cake dough ingredients are at room temperature before you begin. If you don’t have fresh blueberries you can substitute frozen ones. Just don’t thaw the blueberries before you add them to the mix. The cake is best served the day you make it, but you can leave the cake out at room temperature for two days and, though the top will not be as crisp, the cake will still be delicious.

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Jan 2016

Jillyanna’s Featured in Yankee Magazine

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Press & News /

Find Jillyanna’s in this month’s (January/February) Yankee Magazine! We are featured in the the Guide to Simple Living section underneath Open Hearth Cooking.

Read an excerpt below and be sure to pick up the issue on newsstands!

I knew I wanted to do something surrounded by fire and gardens, says Jill Strauss, a former schoolteacher and Johnson & Wales culinary grad.

“It engages all the senses.” Classes, which tend to run three to four hours, are held May through December in Strauss’s kitchen and in the lush gardens where her wood-fired oven stands.
Strauss traveled to Italy to study Neapolitan pizza making, and her classes cover a large range of subjects, from pizza to pasta to pie making. 

Visit Yankee Magazine’s website »

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