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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chicken with Some Zip

When I want lemon chicken I am not craving that gunky lemon chicken from a Chinese restaurant.  What I really want is a lightly breaded chicken breast topped with a sweet and tangy lemon sauce.  I want chicken piccata.

I had never made chicken piccata until a couple of years ago when I came across a recipe for it in an Ina Garten cookbook.  It was good but somehow it didn't quite hit the spot, which is unusual with an Ina recipe.  I liked her breading but the sauce didn't thrill me.

So, I got to work.  I tried other sauces with Ina's breading and came up with the recipe below.  It has a really nice tanginess and offsets the crunchiness of the breading well.  I think you'll like it.  Serve the chicken piccata with a some buttermilk mashed potatoes, and I promise you'll have a really delicious dinner that you'll make again and again.

On another note, I heard from our reader (and my friend) Wende, and she asked what else could be done with preserved lemons.  This is so funny because today in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette food section, there was a recipe for preserved lemons. (Great minds think alike...)   In the little blurb that accompanied the recipe, the author mentioned that preserved lemons were good in salads and rice dishes as well as stews.  I think I'll give those ideas a try, and you should too if you're feeling inspired to make the preserved lemons.

So, I think we've done well with the Meyer lemons.  Enjoy!

Recipe:  Chicken Piccata


4 chicken breast halves, skinless, boneless, and pounded thin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 extra large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup capers
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
lemon slices for serving

Preheat the oven to 400.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sprinkle both sides of each pounded chicken breast with salt and pepper.

Mix 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper together in a shallow plate.  In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together.  Place the bread crumbs on a third plate.  Dip each chicken breast first into the flour, shaking off the excess, and then dip it in the egg and then the bread crumbs.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat.  Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned.  Place the browned breasts on the baking sheet and put it in the oven while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, into the skillet add the lemon juice, broth, and white wine and bring to a boil, scraping up the brown bits from the pan for extra flavor.  Whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour and boil until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the capers, parsley, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Pour sauce over the chicken, garnish with the lemon slices and serve immediately.

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