For those of you who don’t know me, I love to collect recipes and then play around with them just a bit to put my own personal “stamp” on any given dish. More wine here, a splash more lemon juice there and maybe even a different approach to getting the breast thin. Almost always, the results are wonderful. (I will admit, I’ve had a few flops on my hands over the years – especially early on in my tinkering).
Case in point, this dish was inspired by a recipe I picked up from Rachael Ray. The chicken cooked up in no time at all, making this a great week-night recipe. The breasts were tender, moist and oh so flavorful. The sauce is a mixture of chicken stock, wine and buttery goodness. Toss in the garlic and capers and the sauce simply pops. Yum!
I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been suffering from “sticker shock” whenever I walk into the grocery store. The difference between plump, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thin cut breasts per pound is staggering. While Rachael Ray (and a lot of other chefs out there) select the regular, plump breasts, then take a wooden mallet or rolling-pin to pound/roll the breasts out to 1/4 inch or so thin (since thin breasts are needed in this recipe), I usually just thin-cut my breasts (unless I need an upper body work out or feel the need to take the day’s frustrations out on a hunk of chicken meat). To split the breast, you’ll need a good, sharp fillet knife. (I sharpen/hone my everyday knives before each use to insure that the blade is straight and razor-sharp. I do have a few professional knives – and those are so sharp they scare me. Slip with a professional knife and you might just be missing a finger tip).
To thin-slice chicken breast: Place the breast flat on a cutting board with the fuller side closest to you, the thinner point away from you. Find the center spot on the thicker part to cut breast evenly (or as close to evenly as possible) in half, make a small slit in the breast. Turn breast so that the thicker part is facing your blade-wielding hand. (For me, that’s right). Insert blade into the slit, pressing down gently on the breast with your free hand and slice length-wise. You should end up with two thin breast halves. Set aside and repeat with remaining breasts.
Savory Sensational Chicken Scaloppine
Ingredients – Chicken:
3 large breasts, butterflied to create 6 breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
Olive Oil for chicken, just enough to lightly coat pan
Prepare Chicken: Slice chicken breasts to create 6 thin breast. (Option: buy 6 breasts that are already thin-cut).
Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with lemon juice. Let rest for a few minutes to soak in the lemon juice – especially if you’ve butterflied the breasts as the newly cut side will soak in the juice more easily. Dust moist breast with parsley.
Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Dredge each chicken breast until coated on both sides, shaking lightly to remove excess crumbs. Place breaded chicken onto a clean plate and set aside.
Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken for about 5 minutes on each side, until it is cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm. If necessary, cook chicken in batches.
Once all the breasts have been browned and cooked through, place on a large, rimmed serving platter, cover with foil and keep in a warm oven until ready to finish.
Ingredients – Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
Make Sauce: Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan and sauté until the garlic begins to brown. Add the broth and wine, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until the sauce is smooth. Add the capers.
Return the chicken to the pan, lay overlapping to get all the chicken to fit. Cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes to soak in some of the sauce.
Transfer chicken to warmed serving platter. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.
Suggestions: This wonderful chicken went beautifully with a side of pasta and a simple green salad. The meal was not too heavy and oh so satisfying.