Another Saturday night, and there’s another dinner to be prepared--what to do, what to do? Pat and I were too tired to dress and go out for dinner, so it was up to me to come up with something and I just wasn’t inspired.
We chatted about my “standard” list of chicken and pork dishes based on provisions we already had in our kitchen, then I mentioned the Veal Piccata I had enjoyed several weeks ago when Pat’s displeasure with her Greek dinner had inspired my Moussaka, stuffed grape leaves, and spinach pie adventures (see below.)
Pat, like many people out there, isn’t that fond of Veal dishes because of media coverage of inhumane farming techniques employed in some instances. Being a gun toting, card carrying country boy that grew up huntin’ and fishin’, I figure that since it is already dead and plastic wrapped on a foam tray in the butcher shop, I might as well eat it rather than letting it go to waste. I asked Pat to tell me the difference between the veal I wanted to cook and the lamb we ate last weekend? She capitulated, and off the grocery store I went.
In deference to her apprehensions, I decided that a compromise was in order. I would make a combination of veal AND chicken piccata. The dish is really simple, and Emeril on the Food Network has a very good basic recipe.
Here is my modified version producing servings for two people. You’ll need:
1/2 package of pasta (spaghetti, linguini, etc.)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 boneless, skinless, breast of chicken
2 veal scallops
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 clove of garlic, diced very fine
1/2 lemon, juiced
1-1/2 tbsp capers, drained
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped--plus a few sprigs for garnish
Heat a couple of quarts of water for your pasta in a 3 or 4 quart boiler, adding a little salt and olive oil if you like.
Put the flour, the bread crumbs, and the beaten egg in separate shallow bowls. Lightly season the flour and bread crumbs with salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the chicken and veal pieces between a couple of layers of plastic wrap and pound to a thickness of approximately 1/8”-to 1/4”.
Redneck Tip: Use a meat mallet to pound the meat, not your framing hammer or the heal of an old shoe.
One at a time, dredge the chicken and veal pieces in the flour to coat, then into the egg, then into the bread crumbs to get an even, light coating. Place the pieces to the side on a platter.
Your water should be boiling by now, so add the pasta.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until it is almost smoking hot, then melt 1 tbsp of the butter and quickly place the breaded meat pieces in the skillet
Cook the meat until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Watch your pasta cooking…don’t let it boil over. Meanwhile, put your plates in the oven to warm.
Remove the browned meat and place on a platter to the side. Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape the bottom with your spatula to deglaze. Bring to boil and cook the wine mixture for two or three minutes to reduce, then add the chicken stock, lemon juice, garlic, and capers.
Check your pasta and if it is done, pour off the water and set aside.
Redneck tip: Don’t be tossing your noodles against the kitchen wall to see if it is done—just pull out a piece with a fork every few minutes, let it cool slightly, and TASTE IT. Is it done? Also, to keep the pasta warm while you finish your sauce, pour the pasta through a colander to drain and toss with a little olive oil. Add about a ½” of water back to the boiler, set the colander containing the pasta on top, cover everything with a large lid, and set the whole shebang back on the stove on very low heat.
Cook your sauce another five minutes or so, stirring occasionally, then whisk in the final 2 tbsp of butter, salt to taste, and the chopped parsley. When the butter has melted, put the breaded chicken and veal back in the skillet and cook for another minute while you take your plates out of the oven.
Plating it all up…
Place a serving of pasta on each plate. Lift a piece of each meat out of the skillet and place adjacent to the pasta on each plate. Spoon the remaining sauce out of the skillet over the pasta and meat.
Serve with your favorite bread and wine…
The Redneck Gourmet