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Chicken Piccata

A true Italian classic.  In this recipe you may substitute thinly sliced pieces of boneless veal to create Veal Picatta.

4-6 ounce    cutlets of chicken (about 1½ pounds)
Flour Coating
½ cup    all purpose flour, seasoned
½ teaspoon    salt
½ teaspoon    black pepper
1 teaspoon    crushed red pepper
1 medium    shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves    garlic, minced
1½ cups    chicken broth
½ cup    dry white wine
2 tablespoons    small capers, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil - divided
2 large    lemons
2 teaspoons corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
salt and pepper to taste

Put the flour, salt, black pepper and red pepper together in a large plastic baggie and shake well to combine.  Rinse the cutlets and pat dry.  Place a cutlet in the bag of flour and shake well to coat. Remove cutlet, shake off excess flour and place on a platter large enough to hold all four.  Repeat for the remaining cutlets then set platter into the fridge and let sit for a half hour (this helps the flour bond to the meat making it less likely to come off when sautéing.)

Heat the oven to warm - about 200 degrees.  Halve one of the lemons pole to pole.  Place one half of the lemon face down, cut off the tips and slice the remaining lemon crosswise thinly.  Set aside.  Juice the remaining half and the other whole lemon to yield ¼ cup and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy sautéing pan over medium-high heat.  Lay in two of the cutlets and sauté, without moving them, for 90 seconds.  Gently turn the cutlets and sauté on the other side for an additional 90 seconds.  Remove to a platter and place in warm oven.  Repeat with remaining oil and cutlets.

When all cutlets are in the oven  reduce heat to medium and add the wine to the pan.  Deglaze scraping all the bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Add the stock and lemon slices, raise temperature to medium high and boil to reduce for 5 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and capers and reduce an additional 3-4 minutes (there should be about 1¼ cups of sauce in the pan.)

Add the corn starch slurry a little at a time until the sauce is of the desired thickness.  This is purely a personal decision as it doesn't have to be thickened at all.  You can also thicken by melting butter into the sauce at this point.  Remove the cutlets from the oven and pour the sauce over the top and serve immediately.


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