venerdì 15 febbraio 2013

Chicken Piccata

California lemons
There are a dozen dishes that I avoid like the plague – dishes that you never find in Italy but in America are repeated over and over and over again ad infinitum, ad nauseam, on every single menu of every single "Italian" restaurant. One of these dishes is chicken piccata. 

However, last night for Valentine's Day I ordered it.  I'd forgotten how delicious it is!  It's a dish that probably originated in America in the 1930s.  The preparation seems more Gallic than Italic.  But as you can see, there are dishes here, in the United States of America, that constitute a noble cuisine. 


1 lb (3 or 4) chicken breasts, deboned and skinned
extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 TB butter
1 or 2 garlic cloves, chopped (NOT pressed)
freshly-ground black pepper
1 lemon, sliced and deseeded
1/2 cup dry white wine
1.75 oz (50 g) capers, rinsed well

Risolo Palace in Specchia (province of Lecce). The caper plant manages to grow in the most arid terrains, and in the most improbable places!

Put some flour on a plate, add pepper, and mix.

Take the chicken breasts. With a sharp knife, butterfly them.  Pound them with a meat tenderizer between two sheets of wax paper.  Dredge them with the peppered flour.

Heat the frying pan, add the oil, then add half the butter.  (All the other recipes say to put the oil and the butter at the same time.  But if you put the oil a few seconds before, the butter won't burn.)  

As soon as the butter begins to foam, arrange the cutlets in the pan and cook them on high heat, 5 minutes per side.  Remove them with a slotted spatula and place them on a warm plate.  Add to the pan the remaining half of the butter, the garlic, and immediatley (before the garlic burns) deglaze the pan with the wine.  With the spatula scrape the pan to loosen all the beautiful brown bits. 

When the sauce cooks down somewhat, put the cutlets back, salt them lightly, add the capers, and arrange the lemon slices. Cover and cook for 1 or 2 minutes (more to blend the flavors than to actually "cook").

If you omit the capers and lemon and substitute Marsala for the white wine, you will have another delicious Italian-American dish: Chicken Marsala.

ADDENDUM (7 February 2016)

Following the same procedure, you can make a delicious swordfish piccata!

2 commenti:

  1. So true. There are some horrendous faux Italian dishes out there, but others that are really quite delicious on their own merits. Just don't claim they're Italian!

    1. And, realize that a claim of Italian-American does not have to be derogatory! Everyone loves Alsatian (French-German), Piemontese (French-Italian), and Sudtirolese (Austrian-Italian) cuisines. Italian-American cuisine has real potential! (Naturalmente, sto predicando al coro, dicendo tutto questo a TE!)