By Art Smith

The executive chef and co-owner of Table fifty-two, Art Smith has received the culinary profession’s highest awards and has cooked for some of the world’s most famous celebrities as personal chef to Oprah Winfrey.

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken

This dish, which I created for a special guest of Ms. Winfrey, is one of my most frequently requested new dishes. Everyone asks for seconds, and we have served it over and over again to our guests. If you love the flavors of Asia, this is right up your pad Thai alley. My sous chef, Rey Villalobos, crusts his chicken ahead of time and refrigerates it, which he says makes the crust stay on better.  The sauce is my most famous. I’ve even had people tell me they could drink this sauce. It can be made ahead of time because it keeps well in the refrigerator.

Coconut-Chili-Ginger Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 blades lemongrass, chopped
  • 3 (1/2-inch) piece, fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sweet white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black bean chili sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the tablespoon of butter, shallots, lemongrass, ginger slices and wine. Reduce to half. Add broth, red curry paste, and Chinese black bean chili sauce and reduce to half again. Add coconut milk and reduce to half a third time. Remove from heat and whisk bits of butter into sauce until all of the butter has been incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. If you reheat, do not allow the sauce to boil or the butter will separate.

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1 pound salted pistachios, shelled and toasted
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Grapeseed oil to taste
Cut chicken breasts in half. With a meat mallet pound chicken until 1/4-inch thick and place in a non-reactive bowl. Pour buttermilk over chicken, cover, and let sit for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.  

In a food processor, place half of the pistachios, half of the Parmesan cheese, and half of the herbs. Pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture is finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat this step with the rest of the pistachios and combine with the other pistachio mixture.  

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Place flour in another bowl and season it with salt and pepper. Remove chicken from refrigerator and prepare it for assembly.  Preheat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat with a thin coating of grapeseed oil. Remove one breast, shake off any excess buttermilk and dust the breast with flour on each side. Dip only one side of the chicken back in the buttermilk and press pistachios onto that side. Repeat that step with the rest of the chicken. Place chicken in sauté pan, pistachio side down, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. Place in the oven to finish cooking for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove, let rest for 5 minutes and then slice to serve with the Coconut-Chile-Ginger Sauce and the LoMein noodles (below).

LoMein Noodles

  • 4 large shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and julienned
  • 4 stalks asparagus, cleaned, blanched and julienned
  • 1/2 cup julienned yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup julienned zucchini squash
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoon Mae Ploy sweet and sour sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sriracha chile paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8-12 ounces fresh lo mien noodles (commonly found in the refrigerator section of an Asian grocery store)
Place canola oil in a preheated sauté pan with the julienned vegetables and sauté for 1 minute. Add sweet and sour sauce, sriracha chile paste, and lo mien noodles. Continue to cook until noodles are just hot and season to taste with salt and pepper.