Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chickens Capering To-and-Fro - Chicken Piccata

Spring has sprung, though the rain has begun.  That means that it's time for a springy type recipe.  I can think of nothing quite so bright and sunny as the flavor of lemon mixed with the pungent green bite of capers.  So, I chose to make Piccata sauce.  It's one of the pan sauces I go cuckoo for.

Piccata, in it's simplest form, is a Lemon, Wine, Butter and Parsley pan sauce, usually served over Veal Scallopini (thinly sliced veal that has been dredged in flour and fried in butter).  The beauty of this simple sauce is the innumerable permutations it can take in the hands of any given cook at any given time.  No pigeonholing allowed.  My mom, for example, always adds 1 tsp of Honey and skips the wine.  I add Capers and the Lemon Zest to mine and use the Parsley for a garnish at the end. You can substitute Chicken Stock for the Wine, if you like.  You can replace the Lemon with Blood Orange, Ruby Grapefruit or Lime, if so inclined.  You can even chose Duck, Pork or Lamb, instead of the Veal.  It really just depends on what blows your hair back, floats your boat, turns your crank or what drum beat your are dancing to at the moment you are making it.  Sometimes I like to play it a little Loosey Goosey.

This has become evident in the popularity of "Chicken Piccata" vs the original Veal version.  While I personally do not quail at the thought of consuming Veal (no grousing), especially with the new laws regarding crating, I still find that the chicken variation is my favorite.  Someday, I would like to try this with duck and orange though; sort of a twist on Duck al'Orange.

The most difficult part of this dish is the "scalloping" or "butterflying' and pounding of the chicken breasts.  The pieces need to be fairly thin, so they cook quickly; which is the whole point of this particular dish.  In all honesty, if I had planned better, I would have purchased either Chicken "Tenders" or Chicken "Cutlets", then the hard part would have already been done for me.  (I am getting lazy)  LOL

Chicken Piccata

3-4 Chicken Breasts, about 24 oz (or Tenders or Cutlets)
4 TB AP Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
1/4 tsp Sweet Paprika
2 TB Olive Oil
3 TB Unsalted Butter
1/3 cup Dry White Wine
1/3 cup Lemon Juice
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
2 TB Capers, drained
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
thin slices of lemon for garnish

“Scallop”, Butterfly or pound the chicken to between 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. (I usually do a little butterfly-ing followed by a little pounding, cause one end of the breast is always thicker.)

Mix Flour with Salt, Pepper and Paprika.

Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture.

Heat the Olive Oil and Butter in heavy skillet or sauté pan.

Brown quickly on both sides giving the chicken sufficient time to cook meat thru.(about 2 minutes per side)

Move to a warm platter, garnish with lemon slices and tent to keep warm.

Pour off all but 2 TB of the fat.

Add wine and lemon juice to deglaze the pan.

Heat to a boil while scraping the bottom of the pan to release the fond.

When reduced by half add the lemon zest; stir to combine.

Add capers and stir.

There is your pan sauce.

Pour piccata sauce over chicken.

Serve immediately, with a smattering of freshly chopped Parsley, if desired.

MMMMMMMMMMMMM!! I'm happy as a Lark.

Mangia!!
~~

3 comments:

Patricia Taylor said...

I never thought the day would come when I had made not one of the recipes you mention but TWO. I made this about a year ago, my DIL was "afraid" of capers, so I bought her a jar just to show her it wasn't anything "gross." About a month ago, I got the jar back because she said she would probably never use it.
Duck ala orange is the first "fancy" meal I ever cooked for my mother after I got married. Every one loved it but me. I have a much easier time eating duck when I am out. I think the whole idea of seeing it taken care of after hunting it down kind of ruins it for me.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I would be happy too with this delicious meal. There are 100's of ways to prepare chicken and this is my favorite. Very nice presentation too.

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