Seasonal Twists on Chicken Classics
By Lisa Golden Schroeder
The most simple ways to cook chicken are often the most delicious—roasted whole, grilled with a light swipe of the barbecue brush, or lightly breaded and pan-fried until crisp. One of the most classic is just coating boneless pieces with seasoned flour and sautéing them until gorgeously golden and tender—an Italian-style chicken piccata being the standard bearer. The beauty of these simple techniques is that you can vary the flavors to reflect what you like or what the season has to offer. I’m still mad for the crazy variety of citrus fruit in the markets—fresh, bright, and so available. I can’t recall seeing so many choices in years past—especially blood oranges, which once were considered exotic and expensive outside of the Mediterranean.
So in the spirit of the promised stretching of flavor boundaries this year, I’m playing with the expected. Classic piccata is made with lemons—the bright tang of the juice intertwining with the buttery wine reduction that defines the traditional recipe. But I think the vibrant pink juice and sweet-tart flavor of blood oranges—or lovely red grapefruit from Texas—turns a piccata into something else. The technique is the same, the final product is something entirely different. Try a dash of crushed red pepper to add to the sensory experience (savory, sweet, tart, spicy!) or a squeeze of fresh lime. I really love soft polenta with this, coarse cornmeal cooked with a combination of chicken broth and milk so it’s rich and comforting. Rivaling any good dish of mashed potatoes, though maybe a bowl of herbed farro might come in second with the Italian theme.
|SICILIAN CHICKEN PICCATA||
- 6 to 8 (20 ounces) Just BARE® Hand-Trimmed Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 blood oranges or small red grapefruit
- 2 tablespoons small capers, drained
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Place chicken thighs flat between two pieces of waxed paper or parchment. Lightly pound with a rolling pin or side of a meat mallet until their evenly thick (about ½-inch). Season with salt and pepper; dredge in flour.
- Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken to pan; sauté about 8 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink in center. Remove from pan to plate; add remaining oil to pan. Sauté remaining chicken; remove to plate.
- Add wine to pan; bring to a boil and scrape up the browned bits. Cook 1 minute; stir in broth. Bring to a boil; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Meanwhile, juice one orange (so you have about ⅓ cup juice) and thinly slice the second one, cutting each slice in half.
- Stir juice into pan with the citrus slices. Simmer 2 minutes. Return chicken to pan and sprinkle with capers and parsley.