I can tell you, with great certainty, how good a restaurant is going to be by the temperature of their plates. If I get a stone cold plate with hot food chances are the dinner will be average. If I get a cold salad on a warm plate just out of the dish machine, again, I know the rest of my dinner has more of a chance being bad then good. It tells me whether or not the kitchen cares.
When I worked in commercial kitchens it was a bone of contention with me and those who worked for me. Your plates needed to be hot for hot food and cold for cold food, period.
There was a time at home, back before we had kids, when I would always warm our plates in the oven. Probably sounds completely retentive, for all I know it might be, but I have never really given a rats butt what others think. I did it because my wife and I enjoyed being at the table together, taking our time eating, and having some quality conversation. Hots plates keeping your food warm is a nice touch.
We had this for dinner the other day, I warmed the plates.
2 each 6 ounce boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup pepperoni, 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup Picholine olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup tomato, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tablespoon currants
2 teaspoons flat leaf parsley, minced
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1. Season the chicken on both sides with salt.
2. Place a heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot but not smoking add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Gently lay the chicken breast, what would be skin side down, into the pan being careful not to splash hot oil.
3. Brown the chicken on both sides. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil from burning. Once both sides have caramelized remove them to a plate or pan and let them rest. Pour out any excess grease.
4. Meanwhile put the pan back on the heat and add the pepperoni, olives and tomato. Stir and toss it around until fragrant then add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Using a wooden spoon scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Once the wine has reduced by half add the pine nuts and currants.
5. Give everything a stir and then place the breast back into the pan. If the liquid in the pan seems at all dry add a 1/4 cup of water. Braise the breast until they are cooked through which shouldn’t be long if you browned them well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, add the parsley and stir to combine.
6. Place the chicken breast onto warm plates skin side up, top with the sauce, serve immediately.