That, up there, is flat-leaf parsley, growing in a pot. And down below here? Those are all things that I had sitting around the house. No joke. If I had shopped for this meal, I would have picked up a better wine. As it happened, we don’t often drink white wine (we drink red), and so I keep white cooking wine around. And it is all I had on hand. Cooking wine = cheap wine with salt. Also lying around? Chicken breasts. Sometimes we just buy chicken breasts without a plan. We just wing it. “Let’s buy chicken.” “Great.” And then we end up with chicken piccata for dinner. Nothing wrong with that.
Dip your chicken into a flour mix to dry it out and make it easy to pan fry. Flour mix, in this case, just means a little bit of kosher salt and pepper…hand ground. Still need to get a new pepper grinder. Suggestions? No plastic pieces, please. They break.
Side note: try to find breasts without “solution added.” Solution added just equals payment for someone to inject your meat with saltwater. Somehow, when 15% of the weight you just bought is salt and water, it doesn’t seem like such a good deal.
These are our “cutlets,” which really just means we sliced the breasts in half to make them thinner and, thus, easier to pan fry. If you’re anal, you can take the time to wrap them in plastic wrap and pound them out so they are all the same thickness and will cook evenly and at the same speed. Ever the perfectionist, I am also a realist. I realize I have four hungry kids and other things to do in life, like cleaning and putting clothes away, and I’m not taking the time to do that. So, eyeball it and call it good, or if you must, you could also just give it a whack with the back of the sauté pan you’re going to cook them in.
Add your oil and one tablespoon of butter to your pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and it begins to get nice and hot, add the chicken. Single layer, please.
And when your chicken gets nice and brown and white (rather than pink), flip it over and cook it a bit more. It should take approximately three minutes per side, but give it a look and see. You might have a chunky piece that needs another minute. When they’re cooked through, remove them to a separate vessel.
After you dump your grease off (not in the sink, by the way), put the pan over medium heat and add your wine.
Stir and incorporate all those brown bits until you end up with about half the liquid you started with.
Your lemon juice and butter should be ready…
…along with the rinsed capers and parsley you chopped up. Just pour it in, stir and dump on your chicken.
And when you pour it over your chicken, you’re ready to eat. Nothing to it. Adult chicken strips or, for my kids, another day at the dinner table.
|Chicken Piccata: Chicken Fingers for Grown-Ups inspired by Martha|
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
cracked black pepper
3 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise to make cutlets (think thinner chicken breasts)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup dry white wine or cooking wine
1 whole small lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons rinsed capers
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
In a bowl or on a large plate, mix together flour, salt and pepper. Lightly dredge chicken cutlets through the mixture, tapping off excess flour. Set aside. In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat oil and one tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add cutlets in single layer to the pan, cooking 3 to 5 minutes per side until they begin to turn a golden brown and cooked through. (If you have thinner cutlets, cook for less time. Thicker cutlets will require a longer cooking time.)
Place the chicken on a platter or in a casserole pan. Drain off oil from pan and return to medium heat. Add wine to deglaze the pan and, using a wooden, bamboo or silicon-dipped spoon, scrap brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir and cook until liquid is reduced by half, approximately one minute, and stir in your lemon juice, capers and butter. Stir until butter is melted. Add parsley and pour over chicken.