Chicken Piccata and Roasted Lemon-Garlic Broccolini

This food blogging thing is a strange beast, I’m finding.  It interesects with real life…  Sometimes.  For example, check out what happened this weekend:

Rachel and I rolled up our sleeves, fueled up on Jameson and pumped out Irish cream sandwich cookies, “caramelassies,” soda bread, green shamrock dip, corned beef with bourbon-orange glaze, colcannon and the cutest roasted carrots you’ve ever seen.  Also pictured: guest contributions of steamed rice buns and Lunchables (always welcome).

So, yeah–I didn’t take photos for you, or make meticulous notes on recipes.  You don’t want to see those things anymore, right?  We’re already in Easter mode!  Things move fast.

I think you may want to see this, though.  It isn’t nearly as date-specific as all that beautiful Irish-themed food.  Chicken piccata is welcome whenever.  It’s weeknight-friendly, even if you insist on serving it with a bottle of crisp, grassy white wine (I did).  Oh, and–delicious.  Let’s not forget that.

Making piccata has quite a few steps: butterfly, pound, dredge, pan-fry, transfer to oven to keep warm, deglaze, stir, plate, spoon, serve.  But I swear–it goes quickly.

To butterfly a chicken breast, simply use a big, sharp knife to cut it into two thinner slices, parallel to the cutting board.  Technically, butterflying involves not cutting the whole way through so as to leave an intact “hinge,” but here, you want to go ahead and slice all the way, leaving two separate cutlets.  At this point, you may want to pound them to ensure even thickness, but it’s not necessary.  These puppies get floured, fried, and then we make a quick and delicious pan sauce.

Things were moving, fast.  It got messy.  I had to put the camera down.

Broccolini is much simpler.  It’s a beautiful vegetable, really, and very well suited for roasting.  The tops get crunchy!  It’s delightful.

Chicken Piccata and Roasted Lemon-Garlic Broccolini
(Piccata recipe slightly adapted from Playing House)

For roasted broccolini:
8 oz. broccolini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

For piccata:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 of a large lemon, sliced 
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from roughly 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed (optional)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the broccolini with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Arrange in a single layer on a roasting pan or cookie sheet, and roast for 15-20 minutes, until stems can be pierced with a fork and the tops are browned and crispy.  Remove from the oven and allow the oven to cool, setting it at around 200 degrees.

Butterfly chicken breasts.  Pound to an even thickness, if desired, season with salt and pepper, and dredge each cutlet in flour.  On the stovetop over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet until very hot, almost smoking.  Pan-fry the cutlets in batches until golden brown–about 2 minutes per side.  Add the additional vegetable oil as needed.  Keep cutlets warm in the 200-degree oven while you finish and make the sauce.  You may want to pop the broccolini back into the oven at this point as well, to keep it nice and toasty.

Lower the heat and add the shallot and garlic to the oil in the skillet, then stir in broth and lemon slices. Continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes, scraping up any brown bits, until slightly thickened. Stir in the lemon juice and capers, remove skillet from heat, and stir in the butter.  Season sauce with salt and pepper.  Serve the chicken and broccolini topped with sauce and fresh parsley.

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