Chicken Piccata, Lemon Spaghetti and Broccoli and Green Beans

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Italian food is a standby for me — it’s at the top of my list. Many of my favorite restaurants are Italian — L’artusi and dell’anima in New York, Buon Appetito in San Diego — hell, I’ll even go to the Olive Garden (those breadsticks though). This is a classic Italian dish that uses really simple, fresh flavors that combine perfectly (recipe courtesy of Giada de Laurentis). The essence of a piccata is lemon, butter and capers and a thin cutlet of meat that is lightly breaded and sauteed. The sauce is bright and acidic but also rich and smooth from the butter, with a little salt from the capers. It’s just delicious. I served this alongside a lemon spaghetti — also super simple with parmesan, basil and lemon juice/zest, and a healthy amount of fresh ground black pepper — and a broccoli/green bean combo with some crushed red pepper and garlic.

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IMG_5932TW’s Tips

  • Make sure you use unsalted butter for the piccata — salted will be way too salty
  • You can see from the picture that my sauce separated a bit — I needed to do a better job of emulsifying it (fierce whisking in order).

Enjoy!

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

Lemon Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil

Broccoli and Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 8 cups broccoli florets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 pound green beans
  • 2 tablespoons cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more if desired
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Place broccoli into pot and cook for 2 minutes. You just want to parboil the broccoli at this point since you will saute it later on. Using a spider strainer, remove broccoli from pot and shock it in a bowl of ice water. When broccoli is completely cool, place it in a colander and allow to drain. Refresh the bowl of ice water. Bring the water back to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 4 minutes. Like the broccoli, you just want to parboil the green beans. Remove green beans from pot with spider strainer and add to ice water. When green beans are completely cool, add them to the colander and allow to drain.

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil. When almost smoking, add the garlic and saute for about 45 seconds. When the garlic starts to brown, remove immediately and discard. Overcooking the garlic will impart a very bitter taste to the dish. Add the red pepper flakes, broccoli and green beans to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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Chicken Piccata with Lemon, Capers and Artichoke Hearts

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This was a really easy weeknight meal by Robin Miller, and super delicious. I love a piccata. There’s something about the really simple but pungent flavors — lemon, capers, the great, toasty, salty crust you get on well browned meat. It hits all the notes on your palate. This chicken piccata incorporates artichokes as well, which is a great addition. Then just throw it on top of some rice or pasta and you’ve got a meal. The sauce cooks down into a nice, rich yet tart and salty accompaniment that is great when it soaks into the rice.

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TW’s Tips

  • You can use any type of rice for this — white, brown, one of the different flavors you can get in a box. The one I used had some almonds in it which added a nice crunch and layer of flavor.
  • Serve with a roasted green vegetable of your choice.
  • I prefer to use several layers of plastic wrap instead of plastic bags when you’re pounding the chicken. I’m just afraid the bag will pop open and get chicken juice everywhere. Ick.
  • I skipped the lima beans in the rice.

Enjoy!

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Chicken Piccata with Lemon, Capers and Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients

  • 4 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 1 cup quick-cooking brown rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen lima beans

Directions

Place chicken in zip-top bags and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until 1/4-inch thick. Remove chicken from bag and season all over with salt and black pepper. In a shallow dish (or plastic bag), combine flour, lemon zest, paprika, and garlic powder. Mix well. Add chicken and turn to coat. Remove chicken from flour mixture and shake off excess flour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Add lemon juice, wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens. Add artichoke hearts and capers and simmer 1 minute to heat through.

Cook rice according to package directions, adding lima beans at the beginning of cooking process. Serve chicken and sauce with rice.