Wow! It sure has been super hot over the past week or so. I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to the heat. Everytime I go out, I suffer a headache and worse still I start feeling faint and dizzy. Can’t keep up the water intake with the water loss! Needless to say, I can’t be more thankful for the rain. The hectic gig-ing and partying (Amei’s concert was AMeiZING indeed albeit the raised temperature in that open air stadium) has also left me with a slightly fragile throat. Must replenish my lemons storage (for the Vit C and superb healing properties). Plenty of rest until my next gig this weekend at Tom, Dick, and Harry’s.
Speaking of lemon, here’s a dish that packs a punch of flavours thanks to the almighty citrus and some capers. It’s essentially a merge of 2 great and simple dishes, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio and Chicken Piccata. Aglio Olio pasta I’ve spoken about, not long ago in fact. We are definitely going through a pasta crazy phase. Soon I’m going to be speaking with an Italian accent. Chicken Piccata is my new favourite way of cooking Chicken. It made me fall in love in otherwise boring Chicken Breasts.
Piccata means ‘to prick’, apparently the Italian adaptation of the french word ‘piquer’. The sauce is sharp and intense with Lemon, Capers, Butter and Wine (or stock, because I never any leftover wine). Chicken cook this way is tender, juicy, refreshing, and oh-so-addictive.
Psst…. wanna hear about the bonus? I’ll tell you anyway: This whole dish takes no more than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Perfecto!
2 heap tablespoons all purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded thin and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter, divided
1/4 cup chicken stock (you can also use a mixture of wine and stock)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice (about 2 good squeeze)
1 teaspoon capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Enough Spaghetti for two
1 cup baby spinach leaves
Once again, 2 tablespoons of cream cheese (or a little bit of cream if that’s what you prefer)
Cayenne pepper, to taste
First use a meat mallet or the back of a knife to pound the Chicken breasts until desired thickness achieved. Season both sides with salt, black pepper, a bit of lemon juice and cayenne pepper.
In a shallow dish sprinkle the all purpose flour over then coat the Chicken breast with flour, turn around and sprinkle more flour on, set aside.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted boiling water according to packet instruction. Blanch the baby spinach in the last minute and drain together.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; stir and cook the garlic until light brown, about 1 minute. Remove the garlic from the skillet and set aside.
Place 2 tablespoons of butter into the skillet with the olive oil. Cook the chicken pieces in the oil and butter over medium-high heat until brown, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Pour the wine or chicken stock into the hot skillet and bring to a boil over high heat, scraping the browned pieces from the bottom and sides of the pan. Boil the wine until it is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add reserved garlic, lemon juice and capers. Use a fork to mash up the capers a little bit too to release more flavour. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat. If it starts dying up too quickly add a bit of the pasta water. Stir in the cream cheese at this point.
Return the chicken breast to the skillet and continue cooking over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and remove chicken to set aside until serving.
If you time yourself right, the pasta and spinach should be ready by now. So drain and add to the sauce, toss to coat. Stir in half the parsley and baby spinach. To serve, plate the pasta first followed by the chicken breast, sprinkle the remaining parsley. If you are like me, you’ll be adding some chili flakes or cayenne pepper before digging in.