Friday, August 26, 2016

Chicken Piccata

I've been buying lots of lemons at the market every week because I like to drink lemon juice every morning. I squeeze the juice out of half a lemon and then down it like a shot and then chase it with water. It's been helping me keep my skin really bright, it's been helping me not get sick *knock wood*, and it's a great way to jumpstart my metabolism in the morning.

The thing is, I forget to do this at least one day a week which means that there's always an extra lemon sitting in the fruit bowl. So, one night when I was trying to decide what to do for dinner, I stared at the package of chicken, then at the leftover lemon, and decided that chicken piccata would be the way to go. Luckily, we had a jar of capers in the fridge and a good bottle of white wine so I was all set.

I like using chicken thighs instead of breasts because they're more tender and more moist and because of that, I don't even bother pounding them. But, if you're a boob-person and/or a traditionalist, then go for the breasts and pound them out thinly. Seriously though, thighs taste better and they're cheaper so that's the cut of chicken I usually buy. You will likely never see a chicken breast-specific recipe here; I'm not a fan.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
4 chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
juice of ½ lemon
½ cup white wine (or chicken stock, if you're not a fan of wine)
1 teaspoon basil

Start by liberally seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper and then dredging in flour. Make sure to really shake off the excess.
Grab a skillet and heat over medium and add in the butter and olive oil. Let the butter brown ever so slightly and then nestle in the chicken. Cook the chicken for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side until it's golden brown and crisp.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
To the empty pan, which should now be filled with butter, oil, and chicken bits, add in the garlic, lemon zest, capers, and crushed pepper flakes. Toss around until the garlic gets soft and then deglaze the pan with wine and lemon juice. Stir to dissolve any of the chicken caramelization stuck to the bottom of the pan and then turn the heat down to low. Allow the winey lemony mixture to reduce by half.
Coat the chicken in the sauce before plating.
For our sides, I could have just made a regular pasta to be doused in the piccata sauce. Instead, I decided to make fettuccine alfredo with some leftover fresh pasta (which I subsequently dried). Because the chicken is so lemony and bright, I thought this cheesy pasta dish would be pretty good with it (and I was right).
I also made some bruschetta because the basil in our garden was and is just going nuts. I'm probably due to make a big batch of pesto soon.
Spoon a little extra sauce over the chicken and serve with a big pile of pasta.
This was such a bright and summery looking meal, thanks to the vibrant colors and the lemon slices. The chicken was so tender (thanks, thighs!) and bright and fresh and delicious. The dredging makes the exterior of the chicken nice and crisp and the salty capers and fragrant garlic offer nice bursts of flavor when you happen to grab one in a forkful. This was a memorable and delicious meal and I kind of want to try to make fish piccata now. I think this would be great with a hearty white fish, like chilean sea bass or cod. I'll let you know.
Here's the recipe page:

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