Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Breaded Chicken Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce

Breaded Chicken Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce Closeup



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Fear Conquered: Breaded Chicken

I'm sick today and all I want is to go to sleep. The last thing I feel like doing is pounding out chicken breasts and standing over a hot cook top. Not happening. I'd probably keel face-first into the hot oil. Or something.

Flattening Chicken with Rolling Pin

But when I'm sick, I always seem to crave chicken. More specifically, this chicken piccata. Because it really doesn't exactly taste like chicken. It's like chicken on crazy pills. The good kind. The kind that make you crazy wonderful. Do such pills exist? Cause I could really use some about now.

Clearly the fever is getting the best of me. But if you're terrified of breading chicken and pan-frying in hot oil, this recipe will put all your fears to rest. Because while there are a lot of steps that a sick person craving crazy pills probably shouldn't attempt, this recipe works every time and delivers such tasty results.

Chicken Breast Halved Turned

It's the one recipe I can count on to cheer me up. Because despite the fever and chills, this chicken is just what the doctor ordered. Not that a doctor would really ever prescribe breaded chicken for any ailment. They'd probably prescribe bed rest and soup. Or pills for the fever. Or maybe I really am on crazy pills. Or just delirious with hunger.

Crazy, delirious hunger for this chicken. Super tender, perfectly breaded, tangy yet silky sauce and those briny capers. Oh where, oh where is my knight in white riding a platter piled high with breaded chicken piccata? Where, I ask you.



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Photo Tutorial

Scraps of Bread in Food Processor for Making Bread Crumbs
To grind your own bread crumbs, add a couple slices of leftover bread to a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Freshly Ground Bread Crumbs
Pulse until you achieve bread crumbs.

Cubed Parmesan Cheese in Food Processor
To grate your own parmesan, cube the parmesan and add to the food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Ground Parmesan Cheese
Pulse the parmesan until you achieve fine crumbs.

Panko Bread Crumbs
You will also need 1/2 cup of panko crumbs which you can buy from most grocers.

Bread Crumbs, Panko and Grated Parmesan Cheese Combined
In a deep plate or pie dish, combine the fresh bread crumbs, panko and grated parmesan cheese.

Spice Mix for Breading Chicken
Measure 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon each of dried basil, dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon each of cracked black pepper and kosher salt

Spice Mix Added to Breading Mix
Add seasonings to the bread crumb mixture.

Breading and Spices Mixed Together
Combine bread crumb mixture and seasonings.

Flour for Dipping Chicken
In a separate plate or pie dish add 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour.

Spice Mix for Dipping Flour
Measure 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon each of cracked black pepper and kosher salt.

Flour Combined with Spice Mix
Whisk seasonings into the flour.

Skim Milk for Dipping Chicken
Measure 3/4 cup of skim milk

Egg and Milk Combined
Add the milk and 1 egg to a shallow bowl or pie dish

Egg and Milk Whisked Together for Dipping
Beat milk and egg together.

Chicken Breast Between 2 Sheets of Waxed Paper
To flatten the chicken breasts, place 1 breast between 2 sheets of waxed paper.

Flattening Chicken with Rolling Pin
Pound out the chicken to 1/4 inch thickness using a stick rolling pin (or meat mallet or heavy pan).

Flattened Chicken Breast
Rotate the chicken as you pound to flatten it evenly.

Flatted Chicken Breast, Halved
Slice the flattened chicken breast in half with a sharp knife. Repeat the flattening/slicing with remaining 2 chicken breasts, replacing the wax paper as needed.

Large Plate for Draining Chicken
You will need a large heat-safe plate for draining the chicken after browning.

Plate Lined with Recycled Paper Towels
Line the plate with unbleached, dye-free paper towels (to avoid toxins leeching into your food). You can find such paper towels at most grocers.

Butter and Olive Oil Combined in Large Saute Pan
Add 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter to a large saute pan.

Melted Butter and Oil Heated in Pan
Heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat until butter and oil are combined and butter is starting to brown.

Breading Stations Ready for Chicken
While the pan heats, you can bread the chicken. Arrange the breading stations for flour, egg/milk and bread crumbs.

Coating Flattened Half of Chicken Breast in Seasoned Flour
Dip each piece of chicken through the flour. Make sure each side is coated.

Dipping Floured Half of Chicken Breast in Egg Mixture
Dunk the floured chicken in the milk/egg mixture.

Coating Chicken Breast in Breading Mixture
Then bread the chicken with the crumb mixture, thoroughly coating each side.

Breaded Chicken Added to Saute Pan
Working in batches, brown the chicken in the hot oil/butter over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side.

Chicken Breast Halved Turned
The chicken breading should be golden brown when you turn the chicken to brown the second side.

Draining Breaded Chicken on Paper Towels
After browning both sides, remove the chicken from the pan and allow to drain on the lined plate.

Adding More Butter and Oil to Pan Before Adding More Chicken
Add 2 Tablespoons of butter and 3 Tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat until the butter is melted.

More Breaded Chicken Added to Hot Pan
Add remaining breaded chicken to the pan and brown on both sides.

Chicken Draining on Paper Towels
Remove the browned chicken from the pan and let drain on the lined plate.

4 Cloves of Garlic to be Minced
While the chicken is browning, you can prepare the ingredients for the sauce. Prepare the garlic...

Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
Chop a handful of flat-leaf parsley.

Lemon Ready to be Juiced
Prepare the lemon.

Garlic Added to Remaining Butter and Oil
Once the final pieces of chicken have been removed from the pan, add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Lemon Rind Quarters Added to Pan Sauce
Add the lemon juice and lemon quarters to the pan.

1 Cup White Wine for Sauce
Add 1 cup of white wine to the pan.

1 Cup Homemade Vegetable Stock
Then add 1 cup of homemade vegetable stock.

Capers for Sauce
Add 2 Tablespoons of drained capers.

Wine, Stock, Parsley and Capers Added to Sauce
Add the chopped parsley. Stir to combine everything together and bring the sauce to the boil.

Pan Sauce Reduced by Half
Simmer the sauce until reduced by half (about 5 minutes).

Breaded Chicken Added Back to Pan
Add the chicken back to the pan (you may have to work in batches if all the chicken does not fit) and simmer for 3 minutes, turning the chicken once.

Simmering Chicken in Pan Sauce
Make sure both sides of the chicken get a chance to simmer in the sauce for best flavor.

Breaded Chicken Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce Plated
Transfer the chicken to a serving platter if desired and pour the pan sauce with capers over the chicken.

Breaded Chicken Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce
Serve immediately.



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Breaded Chicken Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 45 min
     Cook Time: 30 min

Ingredients (serves 6)
    Breaded Chicken
    • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 cup Panko crumbs
    • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
    • 1 large egg
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 3 organic skinless chicken breasts
    • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
    Lemon Caper Sauce
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 cup white wine
    • 1 cup homemade vegetable stock
    • 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
    Instructions
    1. Grind fresh bread crumbs and grate fresh parmesan cheese (I use a food processor fitted with the steel blade for both tasks); in a deep plate or pie dish, combine the grated parmesan, bread crumbs, panko, dried basil, dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder; set aside
    2. In a second deep plate or pie dish, whisk together the flour and the remaining pepper, salt and garlic powder; set aside
    3. In a shallow bowl or deep plate, beat together the egg and milk; set aside
    4. To flatten the chicken: place 1 chicken breast between two sheets of waxed paper and pound out the breast to 1/4 inch thickness using a stick rolling pin, meat mallet or heavy pan; slice the flattened breast in half, replace the wax paper with fresh sheets and repeat the flattening process with the remaining breasts
    5. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 4 Tablespoons of butter with 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Line a large heat-safe plate with paper towels and set aside
    6. While the oil and butter heats, dredge each piece of chicken through the flour mixture, dip each piece through the milk/egg mixture and thoroughly coat each piece with the bread crumb mixture
    7. Add the breaded chicken (no more than three pieces at a time) to the hot oil/butter and brown the first side over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until golden; turn each piece of chicken and brown the second side for another 3-4 minutes
    8. Transfer the browned chicken to the lined plate and let drain. Add the remaining butter and olive oil to the pan and heat until the butter melts; repeat Step 7 for the remaining breaded chicken pieces, then transfer the chicken to the lined plate to drain
    9. As the chicken cooks, prepare the garlic, parsley and capers. Juice the lemon and cut the rind into fourths
    10. After removing the final pieces of browned chicken, add the minced garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds; add the lemon juice, white wine, vegetable stock, capers, fresh parsley and lemon rind quarters to the pan; bring the sauce to the boil and reduce by half, stirring occasionally
    11. Remove the lemon rind pieces and return the chicken to the pan; simmer the chicken in the sauce over low heat for about 3 minutes, turning the chicken once; transfer the chicken pieces to a serving plate and pour the pan sauce with capers over the chicken; serve immediately
    An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2010 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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    Hungry for Tips?
    • The first time you make this recipe, I suggest preparing everything in advance: the flour mixture, the bread crumb mixture, the egg/milk mixture, the garlic, the parsley, the lemon, etc. Then pound out and bread the chicken, then heat the pan. There's a lot of components and things going on in this recipe, so until you've made it a couple of times, it's easy to get overwhelmed partway through if you're not organized.

      Breading Stations Ready for Chicken
       
    • Originally, I used store-bought Italian-seasoned bread crumbs. And I never gave it a second thought. After all, they're just seasoned bread crumbs, right? Wrong. As you can see by the ingredient list, store-bought bread crumbs are often riddled with transfats, high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. So I recommend making your own bread crumbs.

      Ingredient List for Italian Bread Crumbs
       
    • I prefer using a stick rolling pin to pound out the chicken. To keep the chicken from fraying at the edges, keep rotating the chicken as you pound. And change the wax paper between each piece of chicken as it tends to tear.

      Flattening Chicken with Rolling Pin
       
    • You must use fresh parsley because dried parsley just doesn't taste anything like the fresh. So you don't plan to add fresh parsley, don't bother adding any.
       
    • Do not substitute minced garlic for the garlic powder or fresh basil/oregano for the dried - fresh garlic, basil and oregano will burn in the breading as the chicken browns.
       
    • The breading on the chicken will sometimes stick a bit to the bottom of the pan while browning. Don't worry - all these tasty stuck-on bits will come up easily when you make the lemon caper sauce and they will add real depth of flavor.

      Garlic Added to Remaining Butter and Oil
       
    • When it comes to the white wine, I use what I drink. I like a fruity white wine and just use what I have on hand.
       
    • Homemade vegetable stock makes a big difference in the flavor of the sauce and it's easy to make. You could also use homemade chicken stock if you prefer.

      1 Cup Homemade Vegetable Stock


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    2 comments:

    1. I think I need to come for private lessons. Wow, you sound like a wonderful cook!

      ReplyDelete