Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pucker up...

Along with shrimp, I always have packs of boneless/skinless chicken breasts in the freezer. They come two breasts per pack (just like us women!). If I want chicken for dinner, I'll take a pack out of the freezer that morning and leave it in the sink to defrost. Tonight I made chicken piccata. If you like lemon and capers then this is the chicken dish for you. It didn't even need a starch. Just the chicken, steamed broccoli and zucchini with the sauce on top of it all. The liveliness of the lemon and capers is nicely balanced by the creamy butter. I kept reaching for more veggies to eat with the sauce!

Chicken Piccata

2 to 3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, pounded out until even thickness throughout (about 1/2 inch)
1/2 cup flour
1 large lemon
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp minced garlic
1-2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp cold butter
Vegetable oil
Salt & pepper

The most tedious part about this dish is pounding out the chicken. It's worth doing though. The chicken cooks quicker and evenly. I pounded out the chicken earlier in the day when I had a few minutes to spare. Make sure to rinse your chicken breasts off with some water and dry them very well. Then put one breast at a time between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper on a hard cutting board and pound until flat and even.  Moderately salt and pepper both sides of each piece. Spread the flour evenly in a low dish, a pie plate works well. Then dredge one piece at a time and shake off the excess flour.

Wash and dry the lemon. Put it in the microwave for half a minute if it's coming straight from the fridge. Then zest it (you want the yellow part only),  a Microplane grater works beautifully. Cut the lemon in half and ream all the juice out. Make sure to remove the seeds from the juice.
Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high in a large non-stick pan. When the oil is glistening hot, add your chicken. Cook for 3 minutes per side. Set aside on a plate.

Add the garlic to the empty pan and saute it for about 30 seconds. Now add the broth, lemon zest and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, scraping the brown bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon. Turn down the heat a bit but keep it on a low simmer for 5 minutes. Add the capers and continue to simmer for one more minute. Turn off the heat and add your cold butter, swirling it around with the wooden spoon until it is all melted. This should thicken your sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. You will probably have more sauce than you need if you only make two pieces of chicken (which is totally fine at our house because my hubby is a sauce guy). Make a small incision in a piece of chicken to check for doneness, then plate your chicken and veggies and spoon the sauce on top. Serve immediately! A pasta or rice side would be great with it too.

Cool Tools:
Oxo Good Grips i-Series Meat Pounder
Microplane Grater/Zester

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