Once in awhile, you spend seven hours roasting a hunk of meat for dinner; usually, though, time constraints dictate a more immediately gratifying meal.
If it’s healthy as well, so much the better.
This recipe for chicken piccata comes courtesy of Cooking Light, and it’s quick and easy (on the table in half an hour), if a bit workmanlike. After reading the readers’ comments, I doubled the sauce and maybe went slightly overboard on the lemon juice—it overpowered the rest of the flavors (white wine, capers, and garlic). Then again, I used the cheapest bottle of Sauvignon Blanc I could find at my neighborhood liquor store; perhaps something with more character would have been able to stand up to the citrus’s aggressive acidity. Nonetheless, with a serious helping of steamed spinach sandwiched between the pasta (whole-wheat spaghetti) and the protein, we had a vibrant, well-balanced one-plate meal.
Just a few dishes to wash, and a decent supper in less time than it would take to receive takeout from the local Mexican spot. Not too shabby.
Chicken Piccata with Capers
From Cooking Light, September 2006
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups hot cooked spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Place each breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Place flour in a shallow dish, and dredge chicken in flour.
2. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add white wine, 1/4 cup lemon juice, capers, and garlic to pan; scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve chicken over pasta. Top with sauce; sprinkle with parsley.