Chicken Piccata

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(Click on Pic to enlarge)

(Beginning of Rant)
When looking at my recipe section (located on the banner bar above), I hope you see my offerings are made with meat, produce and goods I find at the local store. Since I live way deep in the piney woods of South Mississippi, the local store would be Wally World (Walmart).  It isn’t that I have a passion for Wally World.  I have few alternatives. Not a good thing for a foodie like me.

On seafood:  The Gulf Coast here is rich with shellfish and many kinds of fin-fish that are harvested from the local waters daily.  Yet, because of the laws governing the sale of seafood by persons other than licensed commercial fisherman and seafood dealers, there are two good seafood markets on the entire coast that actually sell fresh fish.  I love stuffed flounder, a local fish, but I am forced to the frozen section at Wally World for such things as Tilapia harvested from a farm in Zacapa, Guatemala. (I exaggerate, but not by much). Commercial fishermen sell to distributors.  In most states it is unlawful for a recreational fisherman to sell his catch.  I understand the need to control over-fishing, but local fresh seafood is not making it to my table.

On meats:  As much as I love Martha Stewart, she sure is charming, but the main reason I really like her is she has her own butcher.  I look at the meat she uses on her cooking show and wonder where in the world am I going to find that?  She doesn’t cook with the regular folks in mind like me on a budget.  The question for me, how do I take a slab of beef imported from Mexico, cut so thin you can see through it, and turn it into a tasty dish? Meanwhile, my property is next to a cattleman’s. His beef isn’t making it to my table either.

Does it prevent me from making tasty dishes?  Well sometimes, but not mostly.  So, we go with what we know.  What we know is we have lots of chicken, pork, sauces, flour, canned goods and basic produce.

BTW, Miss. Stewart, if you need someone to assist you on your show, I’m the guy.
(End of Rant)

We always have a bag of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer. We use it in a lot of dishes.  Last night I made Chicken Piccata – and it was good.

Piccata is referring to a sauce.  I have read many explanations as to the derivation of the word Piccata – boring!!!  In short, this dish is fried chicken with a buttery lemon sauce.

Serves 2

Chicken:

  • 3 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Flour
  • Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter

Preheat oven to 250° and boil water for the pasta.

In a nonstick pan, (I use my grandma’s 70 year old cast iron skillet), (( I bet Martha Stewart doesn’t have one of these))…

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…get oil hot on medium heat and melt butter.  Salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Unless the chicken is real thick, it is not necessary to butterfly the chicken and pound the heck out of it.  No pounding!  Just dredge in flour, then in egg and then in Italian bread crumbs, place in fry pan and brown.

Most recipes call for flour only, no eggs or breadcrumbs.  From experience I prefer a Schnitzel crust rather than just flour.  I’m guessing since this dish originated in Italy, it probably was influenced by Wiener Schnitzel.  Actually it is the other way, “Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz brought the recipe [Schnitzel] from Italy to Vienna in 1857.” (So says Wikipedia)  I use Italian breadcrumbs because I like the flavor of the Italian herbs in the breadcrumbs.

When the chicken is browned, remove, place in an ovenproof dish and put in the oven. This keeps the chicken warm while making the sauce and cooking the pasta.

Sauce:

  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp corn starch mixed in 2 tsp of cold water
  • 1 TBSP capers
  • 1 TBSP chopped Italian Parsley
  • 2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP butter

In pan drippings, add the white wine and deglaze the drippings a minute or so, and then turn heat to simmer.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until the sauce becomes thick.  Since I use corn starch to thicken the sauce, I adjust it with more lemon, butter, wine or anything needed to make sure it has the taste and consistency I anticipate.  I like a thick sauce, but most recipes don’t call for corn starch.

Pasta:

  • Thin Spaghetti

No matter what time zone or country of origin you are in, all dried pasta takes EXACTLY 12 minutes to cook al dente – not 11 minutes, 59 seconds or 12 minutes, 1 second – Exactly 12 minutes.

Serve up.

I assure you, as was this dish, the chicken is cooked to perfection, all white meat (no pounding) and it was juicy and moist and the sauce was great.  Martha Stewart would be proud, well or she should be anyways.

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