Falling in love over lemon chicken
A retro-inspired Lemon Chicken Piccata for Two served with pasta, capers zucchini, mushrooms and grape tomatoes. | Photo by Melissa Elsmo
Love-Inspired Lemon Chicken Piccata for Two
This lemon chicken comes together so quickly that it’s easy to stay focused on the romance of Valentine’s Day. I like to serve this timeless meal with whole grain angel hair pasta and a quick sauté of zucchini, mushrooms and grape tomatoes to bring some color to the plate.
2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, trimmed
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon of white pepper
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ cup of low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup of white wine
3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons of capers, drained
¼ cup of chopped Italian parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 lemon wedges for serving
Place the chicken on a clean work surface. Butterfly each chicken breast by holding the knife parallel to the cutting board and slicing down the length of the chicken. Nearly cut through to the other side, but leave a “hinge” intact; open the breast like a book. Cover each open breast with plastic wrap and pound with a mallet, rolling pin or heavy bottomed saucepan until they are 1/2-inch thick. Cut each breast in half lengthwise to yield four pieces of chicken.
Combine the flour, salt and white pepper in a small shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour and coat well on both sides. Heat the butter and the olive oil over high heat in a skillet large enough to hold the four pieces of chicken. When the foaming subsides, shake the excess flour off the chicken and add it to the skillet. Cook until golden brown (about 2 minutes) on one side. Flip the chicken and brown on the second side until golden (about 2 minutes). Remove the chicken to a plate and reserve.
Gradually add chicken broth and the wine to the pan while whisking constantly. Take care to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan to bring flavor to the dish. Add the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer the chicken in the sauce until tender and cooked through (about 5 minutes per side).
Place 2 portions of chicken on each of two warmed dinner plates. Whisk the capers and parsley into the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with lemon wedges, vegetables and pasta if desired.
Updated: February 8, 2013 7:42AM
Champagne, oysters, foie gras and chocolate are all well-known aphrodisiacs that have undeniably romantic qualities, but in my experience, foods of love are intensely personal.
Romance can come to life over a bowl of tomato soup just as easily as it can over a box of chocolates.
When my now husband and I first began dating, I had three jobs and very little money to show for it. My oppressively tight budget impacted every aspect of my life. In fact, to avoid starvation, I’d coax my younger brother into stealing canned soup from my parents’ house and deliver it in secret to my tiny apartment. I just didn’t have the heart to tell my mom and dad I was having trouble making ends meet.
I had to heat my stolen soup in my microwave because I couldn’t afford to turn the gas on in my apartment; if just one bill had come in the mail I would have been in the red. Rather than risk a financial implosion, I opted to rely on a microwave, toaster and a Crock-Pot to get me through my monthly meals.
Creative cooking hadn’t become a part of my life just yet and I relied heavily on the 1975 edition of Rival Crock-Pot Cooking to get me through most of my early dates with my husband. While I avoided dishes like Bologna-’Baga Bake and Swiss Crab Casserole for obvious reasons, I became a fast fan of the Lemon Herbed Roasted Chicken on page 72. I prized the simple recipe for its short ingredient list and the homey aroma that permeated my apartment while it cooked.
Unfortunately, the 12-hour cooking time would leave that lemon chicken hanging onto its bones for dear life, but my man and I didn’t mind one bit. We would drink the cheapest bottle of off-season Beaujolais Nouveau money could buy and laugh as we dunked day-old bread into lemony broth. We fell deeply in love over plates of that stringy Crock-Pot chicken.
To this day, lemon chicken is our food of love and the Rival Crock-Pot cookbook I used to romance my husband is proudly housed in the china cabinet in our dining room. It is always opened to page 72.
Happy Valentine’s Day.