chicken marsala is not usually finished in an oven. you can hold the chicken in the oven for a bit if you're really busy getting other things together, the the basic approach would go like this:
- have the rest of your dinner either on the table (salad, bread, veggies if you're serving them family style in large bowls, etc.).
- have your chicken ready. usually breast, but tenderloins or thigh meat are ok too. you can have the skin on or off, depending on how you want it to look, etc. if using thigh, you'll want to debone it and be careful to get all the cartiledge off.
- you can either flour it or not. flouring will help the meat to not stick to the pan if you're using a steel saute pan. it will also help to hold more of a layer of sauce on the meat and thicken the sauce somewhat. these last two are fairly marginal. however, the sauce will also be somewhat less shiny.
- you either salt & pepper the meat directly, or add it to the sauce.
- now you're ready to saute. clarified butter is the standard, but for home cooking, some fresh butter, olive oil or salad oil will do. salad oil is probably the best, because you'll pour this off later anyway. use only as much as you need to.
- if the skin is on, start with the skin side down. if the meat is thin, you can use a fairly high heat. if it's thick, use a medium heat. saute until the skins look appetizingly browned. if you've got the heat/thickness ratio right, the meat will be about half way or somewhat more cooked. turn and finish cooking the other side. of course you don't want it to be raw on the inside, but try not to overcook, as the meat will become tougher. if you are not too sure about this, using the pointy part of a paring knife, you can make a deep insertion on the bottom part of the thickest piece and take a quick look. try to keep the cut as small as possible, as the juice will later leak from here.
- remove the chicken to a plate or a warmed (not hot) oven.
- pour off the oil
- estimate how much sauce you will want (maybe a couple of tablespoons or so per serving) and add about double that amount of marsala. you can flame it if you like, but it's not strictly necessary. if you haven't salt & peppered the chicken, you can add it now. be careful not to overseason though. white pepper is usually preferred so you don't get a lot of black specks in the sauce. however, you can forego the pepper here and use a grate of red peppercorns later as a variation of presentation.
- reduce it to about half the volume and then turn off your heat. add some fresh butter (the amount can vary wildly, but between a teaspoon to a tablespoon per person will be in the right ballpark). your chicken on the plate will probably be leaking some juice. feel free to pour that in as well. swirl until the butter is melted and the whole sauce is emulsified. there is usually enough heat in the pan to do this off the heat. if not, you can do it over, but not directly on, the heat. what you want to avoid is bringing it to a boil. this will separate the butter and ruin the sauce.
- add some finely chopped parsley now or later. or not.
- you can add the chicken back to the pan now and coat both sides with the sauce, or not.
- you are now ready to dish the chicken. you can spoon some sauce onto the plate and place the chicken on top, or; place the chicken on the plate and spoon some sauce on top. you can sprinkle some chopped fresh parsley on top(if you haven't added it to the sauce), or not.
as you can see, there's a lot of leeway involved, depending on what you like and how you want to present it. the key points would be;
1) avoid overcooking the chicken, especially breast meat. in this respect, thigh meat is more forgiving because of the extra fat it has.
2) definitely do not bring the sauce to a boil after adding the butter. too much heat and too much time after this point will lead to the butter separating. finish the dish deftly, and serve.
otherwise, there's not a lot that can go wrong. after the first time or two, you can dream up your own variations. for example, you could stuff the breasts by making an incision and putting in something that would compliment or offset the sweetness of the marsala. use a toothpick to close the incision and proceed as above. ( don't forget to remove the toothpick before adding the sauce.