Well smack my hinny and call me Shirley, because I am now a caper lover! Never thought I’d see the day. These little oddities turned my world upside down and I couldn’t be more pleased about it.
Have you had much experience with capers? Okay good, it’s not just me then. Whew. They always struck me as these odd little balls of green, that for some reason left me imagining them as pits to olives that were repurposed for some sad reason that I never could deduce. I know, I know – weirdo, right here! But now, doors have been flung open, light is shining again and I now have a new favorite dish. Tune in to the end of this post and see the carnage I waged on this plate of piccata.
AND – the best part was that this was completely simplified, nee healthy, because it was baked instead of traditionally fried!! Full belly and a healthy meal? Win Win.
This dish should be renamed Charlie Sheen for how much winning it’s doing. No joke.
I began by using the techniques I picked up from the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook. Their healthified chicken parm is amazeballs. Instead of any frying, the chicken was breaded in toasted panko and baked quickly – locking in the juices and still giving the ingestee all the crunch and none of the guilt that goes with the traditional version.
With 1 1/2 cup panko at my disposal, it was toasted over medium high heat in a non-stick skillet with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Next, 1 chicken breast was filleted into two and pounded out with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. The two halves should be about 1/2″ thick and as even as possible to ensure even baking. You wouldn’t want tough thin ends and an underdone thick section? Blah!
Into three bowls, the toasted panko went, along with 1 cup flour into another bowl and 1 whisked egg into the last.
Dredge each chicken breast in flour, then wash in egg and lastly – dip and coat in toasted panko.
Plop onto a non-stick coated broiling pan and bake for 10 minutes or until the chicken reaches 160 degrees.
Next? The Sauce. Everything is better with sauce. Mince you garlic, slice your lemons and sources yourself some capers. Mmmm, capers.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a non stick skillet, yes you can even use the one you toasted your panko crumbs in, I did. Once heated, pour in your garlic and stir until it starts to waft that glorious garlic smell all around your face. Then stir in the red pepper flakes, capers, sliced lemons, lemon juice and chicken broth. Stir and turn up the heat until it begins to simmer. Reduce the liquid by about one half.
At the same time cook your thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta according to the package directions.
Once the liquid in your skillet has reduced, in a small ramekin or bowl mix together your softened butter and flour. This will be your thickening agent for your sauce. Whisk that baby into the sauce and bring to a heavy simmer all whist stirring to ensure a proper thickening. Remove from heat.
By now, hopefully pasta is drained, your chicken is done – it’s time to plate and devour!
Serve yourself up a hearty dose of pasta, lay one chicken breast on top and pour over the sauce. Garnish it with a couple extra sliced lemons, a little basil and go to town.
Baked Chicken Piccata
All the best that chicken piccata has to offer, but baked. Not fried.
1 whole Chicken Breasts
1 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 whole egg, whisked
1 cup Flour, Plus 1 1/2 Tablespoon
4 ounces Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes
1 Tbsp Capers
1 whole Lemon, juiced
1 whole Lemon, sliced thinly
1 1/2 cup Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Butter, softened
Canola Oil Spray
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In non-stick skillet over medium heat, heat up 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Pour in panko bread crumbs and toast by stirring with wooden spoon until they develop a golden brown color. Pour into shallow bowl or rimmed plate and allow to cool. In two other separate bowls, place 1 cup flour and 1 whisked egg. These will be the coatings for your chicken.
Fillet chicken breast into two halves. With the flat side of a meat tenderizer, flatten chicken breast pieces until they are of even thickness, about 1/2" thick. Dredge each piece in flour, covering throughly. Then dip into egg wash, coating throughly. Then transfer and coat with toasted panko crumbs. Place onto a non-stick spray coated baking pan. Repeat with other chicken breast.
Bake for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees or until chicken breast registers 160 degrees. Remove from oven and set aside.
In medium/large sauce pan, heat water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cover to keep warm until use.
In large non-stick skillet heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add in garlic until it becomes aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in chili pepper flakes, lemon juice, lemon slices, chicken broth, and capers. Stir and reduce by about one half. Increase heat if necessary to promote reduction.
When the liquid is reduced, in small ramekin stir together 1 1/2 tablespoon of flour and softened butter. This will create a thickening agent for the sauce. Whisk into reduced sauce pan and bring to a boil. Continue to stir until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.
When chicken has baked and is golden brown, sauce is thickened and spaghetti is done cooking plate spaghetti, resting one chicken breast on top and cover with sauce. Garnish with sliced lemon and basil. Devour while warm.
Adapted from The Culinary Chronicles Chicken Piccata and Angel Hair Pasta and America's Test Kitchen Healthy Chicken Parmesan.