Peter has been the star of our household this week! I’ll be making an abbreviated appearance tomorrow but for the most part it has been all Peter all the time! Thanks honey and thanks to the market staff!
While we were in Portland we, unsurprisingly, ate in nice restaurants. What perhaps was surprising was that we ordered chicken twice. We are both adventurous eaters and we tend to plot our combined meals carefully so that we can try as many things as possible. After a meal that included rabbit rillettes (a pate sort of thing) topped with pickled spruce tips that frankly didn’t work that well I was ready to reel it in a little. Chicken is chicken but I forget just how absolutely fabulous it can be if it is a) great quality and b) prepared well. The Turnspit Roasted Organic Maine Half Chicken with Charred cornbread rusk and toasted black cumin sweet butter at Fore Street was probably the best chicken I have ever had.
I don’t have the recipe for that but it did rejuvenate my interest in chicken and last night I made piccata which is a simple, delicious dish that I forget about all the time. Ready in minutes, which is also a plus. Here is a heavily modified version of a NYT piccata recipe that I made.
Salt and pepper to taste
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (most weigh 8 to 10 ounces)
Juice of 1 large lemon
Freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or corn starch (I like that better, crispier)
2 tablespoons canola oil, possibly more if needed
¼ cup dry white wine
3 tablespoon butter, softened
2 tablespoon capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Cut each chicken breast into 2 equal pieces (if they are – 12 ounces or more, cut them into 3 pieces). Place a sheet of plastic wrap on your work surface. Place a piece of chicken in the middle of plastic sheet and cover the chicken with another layer of plastic wrap. Working from the center to the outside, pound chicken breast with the flat side of a meat tenderizer (I have found that an empty wine bottle works beautifully as well as the heavy Joe’s Tea bottles) until about 1/4 inch thick. Don’t pound too hard or you’ll tear the meat. Gentle repetition works great. If you tear it, no worries, use it anyway. Repeat with the remaining chicken breast pieces.
Season pounded chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge lightly in the flour and tap the breasts to remove excess. I found it’s just as easy to sprinkle the flour or cornstarch directly on and then just shake off. I really do prefer cornstarch. I started using it so that people on GF diets could partake but it is crispier and very light.
Turn oven on low and get out a platter or a sheet pan. Heat a wide, heavy skillet over high heat and add oil. When oil is hot, place one or two pieces of chicken in the pan – however many will fit without crowding. Cook for 2 minutes, or until bottom is browned in spots. When you can pull it up gently without tearing it’s time to flip it. Turn over and brown on other side, about 1 1/2 minutes. (Do not overcook or chicken will be dry.) Transfer to platter or sheet pan and keep warm in the oven. Add additional oil to the pan if necessary. Repeat with rest of chicken, if any.
If there is more than a tablespoon of fat in the pan, pour some of it off. To deglaze the pan, add wine and lemon juice to pan and scrape. Whisk in softened butter and capers, and stir until sauce is velvety. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle on parsley.
Fish arriving tomorrow:
- Alaskan Cod, flash frozen at sea
- Dayboat yellow tail sole
- Sustainable Shetland Salmon
- Dayboat Haddock
- Icelandic Arctic Char
- PEI Mussels
- 16/20 Wild Gulf Shrimp
- 10/20 Dry Scallops
- Snow Island oysters, ME
See you at the Store!
The Uncommon Market
“The store worth walking to.”