As you may have noticed over the past several months, my posting schedule has been a little bit less frequent than it used to be...and realized that I haven't formally explained my reasoning. Those of you that follow me on Facebook and Twitter may be in the know. But I want to keep everyone in the loop in the case that you don't have said accounts. I have been contributing a whole other set of recipes to another site called FaveDiets.com . If you click on the green highlighted word there above, it will take you to the site. If you then click on my name, you will be directed to my page. I have become a 'Featured Foodie' on the site, and every Monday you will see a new recipe and photo. It has been a really great community and is inspiring to cook up recipes on a scheduled basis. So now I have two opportunities to share the happenings in my kitchen.
Now let's get down to brass tacks. Chicken Piccata. Last week this dish popped into my view a handful of ways...on websites, on magazines and on menus. One day at the grocery store I figured I needed to buy capers and shallots in preparation for making it sometime. I needed to find out what this Piccata business was all about. So last week I was home for lunch after having included myself in a hard workout in the morning. So I was craving a hearty protein filled lunch. Enter Chicken Piccata.
I realized before making the dish that I didn't have every ingredient the recipe called for, such as white wine, parsley or lemon juice. Those ingredients were improvised with apple cider vinegar, fresh basil and caper juice, respectively. I incorporated my experiment with the original below because one aspect I definitely would change from what I did, is to use lemon juice for sure, over caper juice. Caper juice is a little pungent, so I do not recommend. But otherwise, this was such a satisfying and hearty lunch, that I was honestly sad when my plate was empty.
Adapted from Cooking Light January/February 2012
Yields 2 servings
Cooking chicken with a little bit of flour, butter and oil bumps it up several levels on the taste scale. Shallots, capers and basil add such an earthy and fresh dimension to the gravy that you really do feel complete after this meal.
3 Tbsp flour, divided 2 Tbsp/1Tbsp
2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless and free range if possible)
Salt and pepper
2 tsp butter
3 tsp olive oil, divided 2tsp/1tsp
1 shallot bulb, peeled and finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or 1/4 cup white wine)
1/2 cup broth (mushroom, chicken or vegetable), divided in half
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp capers
3 Tbsp fresh basil, julienned (thinly chopped)
Prepare a small plate with 2 Tbsp of flour for the chicken dredging station. Set aside while you place the raw chicken in a large plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using something heavy, like a 10 pound weight (such as myself), or better yet, a real meat mallet...pound the chicken until it has become thin. Remove from plastic, sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge them through the flour on the plate until both sides are nicely coated. Wash hands.
Heat a medium skillet on medium heat. Plop in the butter and 2 tsp of olive oil and allow to melt/heat up. Carefully place the chicken breasts into the pan. Cook each side for about five minutes, until fully cooked in the middle. Remove, place on a plate and cover with a paper towel to keep warm.
Using the same pan, pour in the remaining tsp of olive oil. Add in the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes. Drop in the garlic next and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the apple cider vinegar (or wine) and cook until almost all of the liquid has cooked out. Measure out 1/4 cup of your broth of choice and spoon in the remaining Tbsp of flour. Whisk until fully incorporated. Pour this into the pan with shallots. Cook for a few minutes until it has thickened a bit. Add the remaining 1/4 cup broth and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and add in lemon juice and capers.
Spoon the gravy on top of each of the chicken breasts. Top with a sprinkling of fresh basil. Serve with a nice green vegetable and a glass of wine.