June 27, 2014

Chicken Piccata

Hi Friends!

I know that my blog looks as though it has been dying a long, slow death, but I assure you, it's going nowhere. Life lately has been busy (story of my life) but in a majorly good way, so I can't complain.

Earlier this month, Peter and I put our house on the market and after one weekend of back-to-back showings, we got an offer! These last few weeks were spent getting the house "show ready", making umpteen trips to Good Will (how did I accumulate so much stuff that I never use?!) and running All The Errands you run when you put your house on the market and realize that most of your life is going to be packed into boxes and sitting in storage for a while and ohmygoodness, would someone please pass me an adult beverage (or two) because the thought of packing up our things is starting to make me twitch

In a few short weeks, the Flavia's Flavors kitchen will be located in a temporary rental apartment while our new house is built. In the meantime, between beginning to pack boxes and take our belongings to storage, I'm continuing to enjoy my self-imposed pressure-free time in the kitchen cooking from my cookbook collection, which *sob* will also have to (mostly) be packed up into boxes and put into storage. How do I choose which ones to bring with me to the apartment?! Yes, I know... #firstworldproblems #foodbloggerproblems. 

I've also been enjoying some much-needed "lazy time" and it's been glorious. Between moving out of our house and into an apartment, supervising the construction of our new home, and then moving into the new house later this year, we've had to postpone our vacation, so we're taking relaxation opportunities where we can get them and for me, that has meant a lot of couch-time napping, watching Food Network and reading. I'm finally reading again and it's so. nice. I'm working harder at spending less time "checking" social media (read: getting sucked into it for hours on end) and carving out the time to enjoy a good book. I even decided to shelve my Kindle so I can enjoy the feel of an actual book in my hands again. 

I'm hoping to get in a few blog posts before we pack 'em up and move 'em out, but if it gets quiet around here again, you'll know why, and I promise to re-surface once my apartment kitchen is in order and the paper cuts on my fingers have healed.

While my current home's kitchen is still intact, how about some Chicken Piccata? This is one of my very favorite ways to enjoy chicken. I grew up eating this often, mostly made with beautiful veal cutlets. But since veal scaloppine are sometimes hard to find and on the spendy side, chicken makes a fine substitute. But I highly recommend splurging at least once and trying this recipe with veal cutlets sometime because it's sublime. 

I follow Ina Garten's recipe because I love how she tosses the lemon halves into the skillet while the sauce reduces. Even without zesting, the lemon peel permeates its essence into the sauce and makes such a difference in flavor. Capers add a hint of briny bite and fresh chopped parsley adds color. In true Ina Garten style, a few thin slices of lemon are added atop the chicken cutlets to allude to the flavor of the finished dish. This is a recipe that is plenty elegant for a dinner party, but also quick enough for a weeknight dinner, which is a good thing because after I do the dishes, I have boxes to pack.

Buon appetito!

Chicken Piccata
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

The chicken cutlets need to cook quickly and evenly for this dish. The trick is cutting the chicken breasts in half evenly (lengthwise) and using the flat end of a meat mallet to pound them to 1/4-inch thickness. I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the chicken breasts before pounding them thin so that the juices don't splatter all over the kitchen. Remember to properly sanitize surfaces, utensils and the kitchen sink after handling raw poultry to avoid cross-contamination.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise and pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs beaten with 2 Tablespoons cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 cup vegetable oil

For the Piccata Sauce
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 small lemons) *Reserve the squeezed lemon halves
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tablespoon capers, drained (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Plce the flour, egg mixture and breadcrumbs in three separate shallow bowls or pie plates. Season the egg mixture with the salt and pepper and mix well to combine.

Line a baking sheet with two layers of paper towels and set near the stovetop.

Dredge each chicken cutlet first in the flour, then in the egg mixture and finally in the breadcrumbs, shaking off excess of each ingredient as you go along. Place the breaded cutlets on a clean dish.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. If you like to use an oil thermometer to measure the oil's temperature, it should register at 350 degrees. Fry two cutlets at a time to avoid crowding the pan. If the cutlets are especially large, fry one at a time. Cook each cutlet for approximately 2 minutes per side. Larger cutlets may need to cook a minute longer and smaller ones may need less time per side. Adjust the heat as necessary to avoid burning the oil and the cutlets. The cutlets should be a deep golden brown on each side. Transfer the cooked cutlets to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb any excess oil.

When you have finished cooking all the cutlets, turn off the heat and carefully transfer the cooking oil into an empty metal can or glass jar and let cool completely. Never discard cooking oil down the drain. Once the oil has completely cooled, seal the can or jar tightly and discard in the trash.

Use some paper towels to wipe out the skillet and place it back over medium heat. Melt 2 Tablespoons of the butter and then add in the lemon juice, reserved lemon halves, and white wine. Let the sauce bubble, swirling the pan occasionally, until reduced by half. Turn off the heat and discard the lemon halves. Add in the drained capers, salt, pepper and the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter, swirling the pan to melt the butter. 

Place the chicken cutlets on a platter and pour the sauce over each cutlet. Garnish with the chopped parsley and some thinly sliced lemon. Serve warm.

Comments (1)

This looks great, Flavia! Happy moving!

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