Peppery Chicken Piccata

February 2, 2010

Chicken Piccata

This is my second time making this dish. I remember going to an Italian restaurant in Baltimore and having the best Chicken piccata. The lemon sauce is what really makes this dish amazing. I immediately decided to replicate it at home. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out quite the way I remember, so this time, I thought to use the teachings of America’s Test Kitchen to give me some pointers on how to make it the correct way. Herein lies the result. I’m a sucker for marinating, dry rubbing, or creating a brine for my meats, so for this dish, I decided to include my own brine:

rosemary sprig, crushed garlic cloves, kosher salt, sugar

Simple Brine:

1 qt of water
2-3 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2-3 tablespoons of sugar
3 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tablespoons of crushed black peppercorns
1 sprig of rosemary, lightly bruised

Main Ingredients

2 large lemons
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – paillard
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Preparation

So before the chicken breasts are ready to go in your brine, they will need to be pounded lightly until they are thin, this is known as a Paillard. Paillard, simply, is a slice of meat that has been pounded until thin, which makes it cook quickly. I usually grab a brown paper bag and place my chicken breast therein. Next I take a rolling pin and pound the chicken until I’m happy with the thinness. Once you’ve done this….you’re ready to brine. You could however, just purchase chicken cutlets, to save time.

1. Place the chicken cutlets in the brine mixture and let sit for 30 mins. in the refrigerator. Place a plate on top of bowl to ensure that the chicken is submerged under the water in the bowl. After 30 mins. drain brine, remove chicken, pat dry with a paper towel and set aside.
2. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, set a large heatproof serving or dinner plate on the rack, and heat the oven to 200 degrees.
3. Halve on lemon pole to pole. Trim the ends from one half an cut it crosswise into thin slices, about one-eighth of an inch thick; set aside. Juice the remaining half and whole lemon to obtain about 1/4 cup of juice; reserve.
4. Measure the flour into a shallow baking dish or pie plate. Working with one chicken cutlet at a time, coat with the flour and shake to remove the excess.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Lay half of the chicken cutlets in the skillet. Saute the cutlets until lightly browned on the first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn the breasts and cook until the second side is lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the cutlets to the plate in the oven . Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the remaining chicken breasts and repeat.
6. Add the minced garlic to the now-empty skillet and return the skillet to medium heat. Saute until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the broth and lemon slices, increase the heat to high, and scrape the pan bottom with a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen the browned bits. Simmer until the liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved lemon juice, capers, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and simmer until the sauce reduces again to 1/3 cup, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the butter until it melts and thickens the sauce. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

The outcome, simply delicious. I was very impressed with my second attempt at Chicken Piccata and my lemon sauce was perfect. I will definitely make this again and maybe add a few new twists. Enjoy!

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