When the Knoxville Symphony performs at one of our beautiful downtown theaters, the musicians seem to effortlessly harmonize and form one cohesive voice. But, actually, the Knoxville Symphony is a very diverse group of individuals. The members hail from nine countries and from states all over America.
That’s why the event called “Symphony Soiree” is so much fun. During this casual fundraiser — which was held earlier this week — the participating musicians bring a covered dish — with many offerings reflecting their ethnic heritages — to a dinner at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral. And then they play a wide variety of music that they personally love — not necessarily in the classical repertoire.
The evening is part of the Knoxville Symphony League’s highly successful series of events called “Elegant Dining.” To me, it is one of the best ones. Tuesday’s affair was a sell-out at $50 per person and 50 guests in attendance. Read on to see — and hear — the highlights! (There’s even a great recipe.)
And, Bill Pierce’s rendition of “The Potato Song” is a tradition at Symphony Soirees held throughout the years! (He usually plays the viola.)
We were blown away by Ayca Yaman‘s vocal performance. We usually see her playing oboe in the Knoxville Symphony.
And here’s that recipe I promised. Of all the delicious food we enjoyed, both Gay and I decided Sean Claire’s Lemon Pepper Chicken was the “best bite” of the night. Although he said he didn’t use a recipe to make it, he was nice enough to go home and write down the directions and send it to us. Wife Stacy was helpful in this recipe development, we hear. Here you go:
Lemon Pepper Chicken with Capers in White Wine Reduction
Six boneless chicken breasts or 12 boneless thighs (3 to 4 lbs. total)
2 lemons for juice and zest
1/2-cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2-cup white wine
4 Tbsp capers
4 Tbsp safflower oil (or other cooking oil)
1 Tbsp butter
Wash the lemons, zest and juice them, setting zest aside. Combine the lemon juice with the wine and set aside.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken, lay out on a plate or tray, sprinkle heavily with lemon pepper. Heat a skillet or high-sided frying pan on high heat with oil and butter. Place peppered side of chicken down, sprinkle again heavily with lemon pepper. Sear on each side 2-3 minutes, or until browned.
Pour the wine and lemon juice mixture over chicken, let stay on high heat (maybe 1-2 minutes) until it is happily bubbling, then turn heat to low, cover the pan, let simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Uncover the pan, keeping the heat at low, remove and slice each piece of chicken and return to pan. Add the capers and let cook uncovered until the liquid reduces and begins to thicken. (You may have to turn up the heat slightly.) This should take about 10 minutes.
Turn off heat, sprinkle the lemon zest over the top and serve!