Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chicken Piccata Like Dad Used to Make

Two weeks before my freshman year of high school (circa the 90's for anyone that is curious) I moved from California to the great city of Chicago to live with my father. Now, my Dad doesn't mess around. Everyone in my family can cook to a significant extent but my father is really the pace car. Have you ever come home from volleyball practice and been offered homemade lobster bisque and homemade fudge (his specialty) for dessert? I didn't think so. And, yes, I know I am VERY lucky.

When I left Chicago to go the University of Colorado at Boulder, I no longer had the great chefs, that are my Mom and Dad, cooking for me anymore. That's when I decided to give the kitchen a shot for myself and the rest is history.

I'm a little homesick. My boyfriend and I just moved to San Francisco 4 days ago and left all of our friends and my father behind in Chicago. My father used to make Chicken Piccata quite a bit when we lived together and it's one of the first recipes he taught me to make on my own via the phone my sophomore year of college..."Hey Dad, how do you make that chicken with all that lemon and butter?"

There is something gratifying about filleting chicken breasts and then beating them to a pulp with a meat tenderizer. If you don't have one, no worries. Just throw plastic wrap over the breast and get creative. I've used everything from a book to a hammer to my fist.

By the way, Happy 65th birthday, Dad. We'll be thinking of you on Monday.

Chicken Piccata
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
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.


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