My very very favorite meal in the world is Chicken Piccata. I first had it in an Italian restaurant in Las Vegas. When I came home I found it on Macaroni Griil and Zio's menus but they've since taken it off. What's a girl to do? Learn to make it herself, of course!
The dish, in its most simple form, is easy to make and complex in flavor: sweet, savory,salty, and tart all at the same time. The definition of the culinary term "piccata" is actually a buttery lemon sauce with parsley. Capers have become a de rigeur part of the equation, giving more tartness and a bit of brine to the overall dish. Other flavors restaurants often add, as I do at times also, are pancetta, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, fresh spinach, and/or pine nuts.
I chose this as my first adventure back in the kitchen following my gallbladder surgery and it was almost a religious moment to taste those flavors again that I love so much.
Recipe by Glenna Anderson Muse
- 4 5oz Chicken Breasts, skinned, boned, and pounded thin
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 Tbsp Butter, divided in half
- 1/2 cups white wine or chicken stock
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp capers
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 8 oz dried Angel Hair pasta, cooked al dente and drained
- 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced (Optional)
- 2 Tbsp Bacon Pieces (Hormel) or cooked pancetta (Optional)
- 4 Handfulls fresh spinach (Optional)
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts (Optional)
2. Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts. Place between two pieces of wax or
plastic wrap and pound to 1/4" thickness with blunt side of meat mallet or
rolling pin. Pat dry with paper towels again. Lightly Salt and pepper.
3. Coat chicken in egg and then dredge in bread crumbs. Set aside and let rest for 10 minutes. (This helps the coating stay on the chicken during cooking.)
4. Prepare rest of ingredients and have ready at hand.
5. Heat olive oil and half of butter in heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.
Brown each chicken breast on each side, approximately 3 minutes per side. Remove from
pan and place in warm oven on a paper towel lined ovenproof plate.
6. Into same skillet, without changing heat settings, pour wine orchicken stock, capers, lemon juice and zest rest of the butter, and any other veggies (except spinach) to be added. Whisking to pick up the bits of flavor from the skillet, let come to a bubble and cook for 3-4 minutes to thicken slightly. (This is more of a reduction sauce than a thicker gravy-type sauce.) Place chicken back in pan and turn to coat in sauce.
7. Serve over pasta and/or a handful of fresh spinach leaves. Garnish with fresh minced parsley.