Chicken Piccata. Just the name itself sounds complicated, which probably explains why I held off, for so long, on adding it to my roster of “easy-to-make” recipes. As a Mom of five, I still love cooking for my family, I’m just not interested in investing hours in the kitchen for something that will be consumed in under twenty minutes! Last Sunday, with the hubs back east and the send-off date for my youngest daughter’s departure for College fast approaching, I decided to do something nice for our regular Sunday dinner.
We’ve been hosting Sunday dinners regularly for the past twenty-five years. When the hubs and I began dating, we flew from Florida to Upstate New York, so that I could meet his family. In addition to meeting his parents, I came to understand that the woman I needed to be accepted by was his Italian Grandmother, “Gam”. Prior to our trip, I’d heard stories about Gam’s infamous Sunday dinners–a tradition in this first generation Italian-American family, steeped in its Sicilian roots. Sunday dinners happened faithfully each week, just as faithfully as Sunday Mass. Meals required complex planning and hours to prepare and were often dictated by whether or not canned tomatoes were on sale that week. Sure, it was important for the hubs’ parents to like me, but whether or not I was accepted into the family, that was up to Gam.
Growing up as a daughter of Scottish, Irish and German descent, there was nothing in my life that could come close to matching the Italian experience when it came to food. The meals of my childhood had a decidedly southern influence as well, which meant if I wasn’t eating meals which consisted namely of boiled meats and vegetables, I was eating fried ones.
Food wasn’t meant to be enjoyed, it was meant to be consumed for the sole purpose of filling your belly (and considering I grew up the child of a single mom, it also meant that food was sometimes not plentiful).
Sure, there are still foods that I recall that bring back a flood of gustatory memories, but nothing that I lingeringly recall, like a young woman recalling her first love. (You can’t be married to an Italian-American for any length of time and not come to understand that food will always, first and foremost, be the love of their lives).
But I digress.
As my youngest daughter prepares to make her way in the world, I find myself wanting to ensure that her memories of these last few weeks at home are enduring ones. So, I dug out my recipe book and searched for something easy-to-make.
Chicken Piccata is just as easy as making chicken cutlet or cooking on the grill and this easy-to-make recipe takes just under thirty-minutes, tops!
Quick-and-easy Chicken Piccata
4-6 organic, free-range, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C. unbleached flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C. Organic Low Sodium Chicken Stock *Bullion cubes are a great low-cost substitute
2 Fresh whole lemons
2 Tbsp. Brined Capers
1/4 C. Cold water
2 Tbsp. (rounded) Unbleached Flour or Cornstarch
*salt to taste
Prepare The Chicken
Preheat oven to 200F. *You will be using the oven to keep your chicken warm while you make the Picatta sauce
Filet chicken breasts length-wise so that they are thin. Set aside
In one bowl, mix flour, salt, and pepper
In another, separate bowl, mix 1-2 eggs with 1/4 C. cold water (I find one egg works well for up to 4-6 filet pieces total)
Place 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in the pan and set to medium heat
Dredge filets through the flour, salt, and pepper combination and place in heated pan
Cook on each side for about 5-7 minutes until lightly browned
Place chicken into a glass pan and into the oven to keep warm
Prepare The Sauce
Reduce heat to low and add 1/2 C. of Organic low sodium chicken stock
Use tines of a fork to scrape the bits of chicken and breading which have stuck to the pan
Next, add the juice of 2 lemons, while continuing to mix well
Then add 2 Tbsp. brined capers *optional
If the “sauce” is too sour, add a little more chicken stock to taste
Next, dissolve 2 rounded Tbsp. of Flour or cornstarch into cold water
Add mixture to “sauce” until desired thickness is achieved
Remove chicken from oven and spread sauce over the individual fillets, or place in a gravy boat with a spoon so that it can be added to the chicken individually
Serve with long grain wild rice and veggie of your choice. Bowtie or Gemelli pasta is a great accompaniment to this meal, as well as a fresh chopped salad or steamed broccoli
Serve and Enjoy!