Robert Byrne claims "Anybody who says that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, flunked geography." Nigel Slater says "It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you." Fellini says that "Life is a combination of magic and pasta." And Mark Twain adds "Eat what you like and let the food fight it out on the inside." But the most pertinent piece of wisdom for today is that "Everything tastes better crumbed". Comedian Dave O'Neill, has published a book under this title - one of his big statements about life. I'm not sure I agree entirely, although my children probably would. Lucky for them that Chicken Piccata was the first of this months' Barefoot Blogger recipes. (For newcomers to this site, the Barefoot Contessa has spawned a motley crew of Barefoot Bloggers who cook from the collected wisdom of Ina Garten a couple of times a month.)
I have made this recipe before (here) but last time I subbed in veal for chicken. We also had a similar Barefoot Blogger recipe in September when we made Parmesan Chicken. This time I made it just as Ina instructed, although I cooked some thigh fillets as well as the breast fillets (husband regards chicken breasts as the work of the devil). If I had to compare the recipes, I think I would pick the Parmesan chicken - the extra flavour from the cheese really lifts it, although I really liked the lemon sauce from the piccata - maybe the solution is to marry the two?? If you are planning to make this, try pounding the fillets from the middle out, to make for less raggedy edges. And just in case you are left with some, the leftovers make great sandwiches. I served the chicken with some steamed asparagus - which also went very well with the lemon sauce. Thanks to Lindsay of Noodle Nights and Muffin Mornings for her choice.
Chicken Piccata from the Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten
2 chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.