Thursday, January 28, 2010
Chicken Piccata for Family
For all of my adult life, friends have been my extended family. We meet for drinks and share birthdays and the occasional non-essential holidays. We share Sunday dinners and weeknight meals too. I call when I've made more soup than I can possibly eat. They call when their garden is overflowing.
But there's still nothing like family. And a loud and long Sunday family dinner? A small dose of perfection.
There was snow and cold and the occasional holiday light still twinkling in January. There was cheap, good French red wine drunk before five. Gooey warm artichoke dip. A petite caprese salad: small slices of tomato topped with a sliver of cheese and a small strip of basil. Big kids and little kids laughing together.
We set the big oval table with cloth napkins and colorful plates and squeezed in together. Ate crisp ceasar, and chicken piccata dripping with bright lemon sauce. Feeling gluttonous, I mopped the sauce with bread again and again. There was more wine poured and a tower of cupcakes for dessert.
It was one of those meals, and days, that seemed heartbreakingly short. This is how I will remember it:
2 split (one whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
sliced lemon, and chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper 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 in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.
Serves two, easily doubled (or more!)
Thank you, Ina