Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chicken Piccata for Summer and Chili Dusted Roasted Potatoes

A few years ago when Kris and I were visiting my family in Austin, we watched my mom whip up a simple chicken dish that we all flipped over. That dish was chicken piccata and for some unknown reason it took me about two years to remember to make myself.

The recipe varies oh so slightly from chef to chef but I promise that whichever one you choose - the homemade version is one billion times lighter and fresher than what you remember ordering at Olive Garden. (Not that I'm ripping Olive Garden - that was tres chic when I was in high school, as were, ever so briefly, Rocky Mountain jeans. Thankfully my taste buds and sense of fashion have moved on.)

Anyway, I made my chicken piccata from Giada's Everyday Italian cookbook and to make it even fresher for summer, I dumped in a pint of cherry tomatoes along with the capers. They simmer in the liquid as the chicken finishes cooking, getting plumper and sweeter by the minute. Kris HATES cherry tomatoes, yet I didn't notice him picking them out...

Chicken Piccata, adapted from Giada:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, flattened to 1/4 inch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
all purpose flour (about 1/3 cup, for dredging)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup rinsed and drained capers
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour to coat lightly. In a large saute pan, melt two tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until just brown, about 3 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the broth, lemon juice, capers and tomatoes to the same pan. Bring the mixture up to a boil over medium high heat, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer until cooked through and tomatoes have begun to wrinkle and burst, about 5 minutes. using tongs, carefully transfer the chicken to plates or to a serving platter. Whisk the remaining tablespoon of butter (Giada uses two - I think one is plenty) into the sauce, then the chopped parsley. Serve with cumin dusted potatoes, as follows, or noodles or thick wedges of garlic bread.

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