Achieving successful Agrodolce (sour and sweet) is considered something of an art in Italian kitchens. It’s a universal notion in cooking, whether it be the tangy sweet appeal of BBQ to the sweet and sour dishes of transmogrified Chinese cooking the world over.
My wife captured our own little version (perfectly suited for the heretofore coddle palette of my infant daughter) purely by accident a few days back when, deep into the swirl of transatlantic jet-lag, she spaced on our traditional favourite form of marinating chicken breast pre-pan fry: namely, a light hour-long bath of olive oil, garlic and fresh squeezed lemon.
All was going well until she reached for the fresh lemon to add to the marinade – we had none (something to do with me being in charge of the shopping while she was away apparently). Befuddled, she reached for the most obvious condiment she could think of to accompany extra virgin olive oil – balsamic vinegar.
The result after pan-frying for 15 minutes? Three deeply tanned, succulent, tart yet sweet chicken breasts served with Spanish rice (lightly sauteed in olive oil before adding boiling water) and a mysterious green food we call "little trees" to win over our three year old but more recognizable to you as Broccoli.
Adult size portions worked for my wife and I, a full breast quartered for the slightly picky three year old and a diced medley of chicken bits, broccoli and rice for our eight-month old eating machine.
Accidents will happen in cooking – hopefully they are all as delicious as this one.