Monday, April 1, 2013

Chicken Piccata (with Wine Pairing!)

Sometimes, chicken can be so bland. I mean no offense to chicken -- it is my protein of choice multiple times a week. Bland chicken was NOT on the menu for dinner tonight. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

This Chicken Piccata recipe is simple yet elegant, bursting with fresh flavors that will make your taste buds dance. The very word "piccata" translates to tart or zesty.

I never thought about making chicken piccata at home. I never have capers around the house because, to be frank, I don't like capers. Yet, traditional Chicken Piccata is made up of everything I love. Juicy chicken, buttery sauce, sweet garlic, and bright lemon all served on top of a bed of linguine.

I was motivated to try my hand at homemade chicken piccata after a recent wine tasting at The Urban Grape (which is my new all-time favorite wine boutique in Boston--check out their website to learn more about the store and concept). The tasting was made up of rose wines, and it was a blast. They even had the executive chef from Oleana, a delicious Mediterranean restaurant in Cambridge, prepare a menu that paired with each wine. This is when it hit me...I love food...I love wine...I NEED to start pairing my foods with my wines to bring both the food and the drink to a new level.

As I was filling up my shopping bag with all the wines I wanted to take home (naughty me, I know), I decided to try an additional wine that wasn't featured at the wine tasting. One of the owners pointed me to Les Violettes Cotes Du Rhone (a 2012 French Rose) and told me that the wine had grapefruit undertones that would pair well with a light pasta dish, like a veal piccata.

The wine was smooth and just slightly sweet. It didn't battle with the saltiness of the capers and accentuated the tartness of the lemon juice. It was perfect to pair with dinner because it was just slightly dry and not full of sweetness.

This meal takes just about  30 minutes to make and is a great dish to serve to dinner guests. Make the dinner party complete with a bottle of the Les Violettes or other citrus-y rose and you'll be sure to impress.

Here's a rough cast of characters that we will need to make this AMAZING meal. The basics...lemons, butter, chicken, capers, flour, parsley, olive oil, garlic..the works. And, of course, a box of linguine to pull it all together.

I used a thin sliced chicken breast, but you can buy regular chicken breast and slice them yourself. I went the extra step and pounded out the chicken to about 1/4 inch thickness. The thin chicken is so essentially to the meal; I know it seems silly but trust me!

Chicken is seasoned generously with salt and cracked black pepper. Then it is dredged in flour to help create a delicious golden brown crust.

The chicken gets cooked on the stove top in a large skillet in a mixture of butter and olive oil. The flavor of the butter is just everything, and the olive oil helps prevent the delicious butter from burning.

Once all the chicken is cooked, we start to build our pan sauce. Garlic, lemon juice, chicken stock and capers are brought to a boil, then reduced for 5 minutes. Cue the fresh parsley, a touch more butter, and some flour to thicken everything up.

Toss the sauce with your cooked linguine and top with one or two pieces of chicken. Serve garnished with fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese because, I mean, why WOULDN'T we put parmesan cheese on top?

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis and serves 4. Easy to double for larger parties...enjoy!

Here's what you need for Chicken Piccata (Print Recipe!)

1 pound thinly sliced chicken breast (such as Perdue) - this left me with 5 cutlets
3 to 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large lemons, zested and juiced for about 1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed (tip: if you don't like the taste of capers, try sprinkling 1/2 teaspoon of sugar on top before cooking with them. I did this to cut the brininess and it worked wonders!)
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 box linguine pasta, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Here's what you do

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil.

Place the chicken cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound out using a meat mallet to 1/4 inch thickness. Season both sides generously with salt and cracked black pepper.

Dredge the chicken in 3 to 4 tablespoons of flour, coating completely. Shake off excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Melt in 2 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is sizzling, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Add more oil and butter and repeat until all the chicken is cooked.

Remove pan from the heat and stir in the garlic. Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, and capers. Return to the stove top and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of all purpose flour. Using a fork, vigorously whisk the sauce until all the butter is melted and the flour is dissolved. Stir in half of the parsley and lemon zest. Cook for about 5 minutes more until thick. Toss the sauce in with the cooked pasta.

To serve, add 2 spoonfuls of pasta to each plate and top with one or two pieces of chicken. Sprinkle on more parsley and parmesan cheese to taste. Enjoy with a glass of Les Violettes Cotes Du Rhone.

1 comment:

  1. I'm melting here! this dish looks delicious. i want to make it and pair with some wine. Hope it could look good as yours :)