Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chicken Piccata

Yesterday I had some one on one time with my baby--who just happens to be 2 1/2 years old.  First we went to the library (which can be so much more self-serving with only 1 child to watch over instead of 3).  We both got some great books, and because it was just the 2 of us, I visited all my favorite sections...including the cookbooks.  I picked up one called Barefoot Contessa at Home.  When we got home, my baby snuggled up next to me on the couch, he feel asleep and I got to enjoy reading this wonderful treasure of food possibilities.  This is the gem I choose to make for dinner....I must admit, I loved it.  Lemony, flavorful, sweet.  It definitely rivals one of my other favorites, only I found it even easier to make.  The sauce is very lemony, so I suggest only using a touch.

Chicken Piccata
4 split (2 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups seasoned dried bread crumbs
good olive oil
3 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon juice reserved
1/2 cup chicken broth (the original recipe calls for dry white wine, chicken broth is my adaptation)
sliced lemons, for serving
chipped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving (I didn't have this so I used fresh tarragon, it was mainly for looks, but it compliments chicken nicely)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
2.  Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound it out to 1/4-inch thick.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
3.  Mix the flour, 1 t salt, and 1/2 t pepper on a shallow plate.  In a second plate, beat the eggs and 1 T water together.  Place the bread crumbs on a third plate.  dip each chicken breast first int eh four, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread-crumb mixtures.
4.  Heat 2 T olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat.  Add 2 chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned.  Place them on the sheet pan while you cook the rest of the chicken.  Heat more olive oil in the saute pan and cook the second 2 chicken breasts.  Place them on the same sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
5.  For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel.  On medium heat, melt 1 T of the butter and then add the lemon juice, broth, reserved lemon halves, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper.  Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.  Off the heat, add the remaining 2 T of butter and swirl to combine.  Discard the lemon halves.  Serve on chicken breast on each plate, spoon on the sauce, and serve with sliced lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

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