First thing you should know: This is Steve’s favorite recipe. Second thing: Dead simple. Yes, I know I sound like a broken record but delicious food IS easy! Criss-cross applesauce!
Simple Chicken Piccatta
2 skinless and boneless chicken breast, butterflied then cut in half OR 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken thighs with all the extra fat cut off (Make it easy on yourself and just use a scissor.)
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. dried thyme, crushed in your hands
2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons, juiced)
1 large or 2 small lemons, thinly sliced and de-seeded
1/2 c. dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc) to deglaze pan
1 c. chicken broth (Just use the boxed kind. It works fine.)
3 T. capers, rinsed and drained (Yes, rinse those puppies or they are too harsh and take over in a bad way.)
3 T. olive oil
A couple tablespoons of chopped parsley to garnish
Get everything out and ready before you begin cooking. Once you start, this dish is done quickly. Have the table set and everything else you are eating essentially done. I often serve this over linguini, but it can also be served with potatoes- white or sweet. Yum.
Put the chicken breasts between two pieces of wax paper and pound them with a mallet or rolling pin till they are roughly an even thickness. This allows the breasts to cook evenly and quickly. You can skip this step if you wish. (I often do!)
Put the flour, salt & pepper and crushed thyme into a large plastic bag. Toss in the chicken and shake till each piece is thoroughly coated. Using a heavy frying pan (Cast iron is the bomb!), heat up the pan over a relatively high flame. When hot, pour in half the olive oil (about 1 1/2 tablespoons), swirl the pan to coat evenly and place the chicken pieces into the skillet. Do not throw away the plastic bag with the flour. You will need a few tablespoons in a bit.
Turn the flame down to medium so the chicken doesn’t burn. Check the chicken for browning and flip- about 5 minutes. Add the remaining olive oil if the flour is scorching and not turning a crispy brown. After both sides are gently browned, remove to a plate. Note: The chicken will not be completely cooked through. Not to worry- you will be adding it back in to the pan shortly.
Deglaze the pan with the 1/2 c. of dry white wine, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the lemon juice and the rinsed capers. Stir together and leave to gently simmer. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the leftover flour/spice mixture to 1/4 cup of the cold chicken broth and stir to combine into a smooth paste. Add more of the chicken broth- stirring continuously- until all of the chicken broth is incorporated without any flour lumps. (Stir, stir, stir!) Now add the flour/chicken broth mixture into the pan continuously stirring to combine. If you are worried about lumps, stir with a wire whip while you are adding the two liquids together. Now simply add the chicken pieces back in to the pan with the lemony chicken gravy. Lay the cut pieces of lemon over the top of the chicken pieces and put a lid on the pan. Gently simmer 10 minutes so the lemon slices can steam and the chicken can finish cooking all the way through. Before serving, sprinkle with parsley.
I know that seems like a lot of steps but after you have done it a few times, you can knock this out in less than 30 minutes. It tastes as good as anything you could order in a restaurant and you can control what goes into the pan. The pics are from last night’s dinner. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and served it over lemon-pepper linguini (Farmer’s Market). Yes, there are leftovers. Glory!