I love a good chicken piccata, that tangy caper sauce drizzled over a beautifully pan-fried succulent chicken breast. Add some long-grain white rice and a few friends, and you have the makings for an excellent evening’s meal.
Good food, good friends, and good conversation… I don’t think you could ask for more than that.
With the exception of the brining process, this dish is quick and easy to prepare. Excellent on those early Spring days, or on hot Summer days, when you don’t want to spend a lot of time heating up your kitchen.
So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.
prep time6 Hr
cook time40 Min
long-grain white rice
chicken stock, not broth
sweet butter, unsalted
salt, kosher variety (optional)
boneless/skinless chicken breasts, of equal size about 1/2 pound (225g) each
flour, all purpose
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
olive oil, extra virgin
sweet butter, unsalted
THE PAN SAUCE
chicken stock (i use chicken consommé)
dry white wine, or an equivalent amount of chicken stock
lemon, thinly sliced
marinated artichoke hearts, drained (my favorite brand is cento)
small cherry tomatoes, quartered
capers, drained and rinsed
lemon juice, freshly squeezed
sweet butter, unsalted
italian parsley, freshly chopped
How To Make
Brine the chicken breasts for 4 to 6 hours, but no longer than 6, or the brine will overpower the chicken.
Chef’s Note: Since this is a quick dish, and not a long simmering process, brining will help to keep the chicken breasts nice and moist.
I typically use 3/4 cup of kosher salt, 1/2 cup granulated white sugar to 1 gallon (3.7liters) of filtered water.
Combine the flour, cumin, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.
Remove the chicken breasts from the brine, rinse off, and cut in half, lengthwise.
You should have 4 pieces, about a quarter pound (112g) each.
Dredge in the flour mixture and allow the chicken to rest for 20 minutes, and then dredge in the flour a second time.
After the chicken has rested, and just before you sauté it, add all the ingredients for the rice in a pan, and cook according to package directions.
Chef's Tip: If you plan this correctly, the rice should be ready about 10 to 15 minutes before the chicken, so it will still be steamy hot.
Ah, I love it when a plan comes together.
Place a rack in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 220f (105c).
In a large skillet add the olive oil, and butter, heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and the foaming subsides.
Add the chicken breasts to the pan.
Sauté until golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes per side.
Chef’s Note: It’s not necessary to crowd the pan. If you’re using something smaller, you can always do the sautéing in two batches.
Place the breasts on a baking sheet, and put into the oven. This will keep them warm, while making the pan sauce.
MAKING THE SAUCE
Gather all your ingredients.
Remove all but a tablespoon of the oil from the sauté pan.
Add the garlic, and sauté over medium heat, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the chicken stock, and wine, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up and dissolve all those wonderful flavor bits on the bottom of the pan (fonds).
Chef’s Tip: There is a fine line between flavorful fonds, and blackened bits. Keep an eye on the pan.
Lower the heat until the liquid is simmering and add the lemon slices, and allow to gently simmer, about 6 minutes. During this time the sauce is reducing and beginning to thicken.
The pan should be at a light simmer.
Chef’s Tip: If you’re not a fan of lemon seeds in your sauce, pick them out before adding the lemon slices to the pan.
Add the tomatoes, artichokes, and capers, and allow them to simmer for an additional 6 to 8 minutes.
Chef’s Tip: You might want to have some additional chicken stock at the ready, just in case it reduces too quickly.
Add the butter and swirl into the sauce until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, and parsley, swirl to combine, and then remove from heat.
Add some rice to a plate.
Slice up one of the chicken breasts, and lay on the top of the rice.
Add the sauce to the top and serve while still hot. Enjoy.
Keep the faith, and keep cooking.
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