Today is not my day. I woke up late and didn’t get a chance to wash my hair before my 10 o’clock interview. Get to my interview, and I pretty much choked, forgetting all the things I had reminded myself to say while on the subway. I’m sure it was a terrible interview, and I regretfully apologize my interviewer for such horrendous performance. On my way home on the subway, I nodded off at some point and missed my transfer station… I woke up 20 minutes later somewhere in the Bronx, so I had to back track to my transfer station, wait for the right train, get on it and ride back. I ended up 30 minutes late for class. This is soo not my day.
To make myself feel better, I made myself a giant comforting lunch – and nothing says comfort food to me than chicken and potatoes. So today, I made a quick Chicken Piccata – a crispy golden brown crust topped with loads of garlic and capers – and buttery creamy Mashed Potatoes – mashed just enough to still have some texture. The interplay of the textures, the flavors (salty and tangy from the Piccata sauce and richly buttery from the potatoes), the aromas really keep things interesting in this quick comfort food.
Take a bite!
There are about a million chicken piccata recipes out there, and even when I make it, the results aren’t the same every time. So long as it tastes good, why does it matter? Essentially, you need to dredge a thin piece of chicken breast in seasoned flour and fry until golden brown. Remove the chicken, but add a nice tangy liquid with either some wine and/or chicken broth and let the liquid reduce in the hot pan. Spoon the sauce over your chicken, and you’re done. There is so much room for variation and personal touches, that it really is a super versatile dish. I really like a crispy exterior to my chicken (almost like fried chicken), so I like to dip my chicken in a heavy cream & egg wash before dredging in seasoned flour. I also love garlic, and thus always add it to my reduction liquid, though the ‘typical’ chicken piccata recipe never mentions garlic. Do what you like, and like what you do, yes? See pictures for variations.
Chicken Piccata with parsley and mixed green salad
Chicken Piccata with capers and side of mashed potatoes
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half
salt and black pepper
garlic powder [optional]
3/4 c all-purpose flour, for dredging
1/4 c heavy cream [optional]
1/3 c lemon juice (or 1/4 c vinegar)
1/2 c chicken stock
1/4 c brined capers, rinsed
3 tbs garlic, minced
2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
*Note: If you decide on a really thick crust for the chicken, know that the sauce at the end will lose its clarity. If you lightly coat the chicken, you should end up with a clearer liquid at the end.
In a saucer (or deep plate) wide enough to hold chicken, mix flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder. In a second saucer/plate, beat together egg and heavy cream.
Sprinkle both sides of chicken breast with salt and pepper.
Dip each chicken breast in the egg/heavy cream until thoroughly coated, then into the flour mixture. I like to really press the flour onto the chicken to make a nice thick coat. But if you want a thinner shell, then coat lightly.
Heat 1-2 tbs olive oil in a large saute pan on medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook until browned. DO NOT USE HIGH HEAT, as the exterior will brown (if not burn) before the breast meat is fully cooked. Once done, remove chicken to a plate, and keep the pan on a low heat.
To the pan, add lemon juice, chicken stock and optional splash of white wine, capers and minced garlic, and allow the liquid to bubble and thicken and reduce. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so the liquid takes in all that extra flavor. Adjust season with sugar, salt (probably not needed) and/or lemon juice as needed. Remove from heat, and spoon liquid over chicken breast. Top with a generous sprinkle of fresh parsley. Enjoy!
This time, I made enough reduction liquid to eat my with mashed potatoes, and it was absolutely divine.Tangy. Salty. Creamy. Beautiful. I feel better already. So ready that I am going to tackle the rest of my day like a champ. No more moping about bad interviews or missed trains. Time to get back up and face the world. Bring it.