Excerpted from Jacques Pépin Fast Food My Way (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004). © 2004 by Jacques Pépin. Used with permission.
In France, the classic way of cooking frog's legs is to dredge them in flour, sauté them over high heat in oil and butter and finish them with garlic and parsley and some fresh lemon juice. I've replaced the frog's legs with cubes of chicken breast. Make sure that you dry the cubes well with paper towels before you season them, and don't dredge them in the flour until just before sautéing. Finely milled Wondra flour will give you the crispest coating on the chicken; substitute all-purpose if you must. If possible, prepare this dish in a 12-inch skillet (preferably nonstick), which is large enough to accommodate the chicken in one layer.
Dry the chicken cubes with paper towels and toss them with the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until very hot but not smoking, add the chicken cubes, and cook in one layer, turning occasionally, for about 3-1/2 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Add the butter and the parsley mixture to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute longer, shaking the skillet occasionally to coat the chicken.
To serve, divide among four plates, add a wedge of lemon to each plate, and serve within 15 minutes.
About chicken breasts: Organic chickens are now available in many markets. They are superior in taste and texture.
"The happiest people in the world interact about 7 hours a day," says Dan Buettner, author of Thrive. "They don't just wake up in the morning and schedule 7 hours of interaction. A lot of it happens to revolve around food and the rituals that surround food." Buettner circled the globe in search of the world's happiest populations -- he shares four tips with The Splendid Table.