Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chicken Piccata

I've been watching Top Chef since season 2, and it really is one of my favorite shows. Reality shows are crowding the TV line-ups nowadays, and I am sick of most of them, but Top Chef tops them all. It is competitive, creative, and I consider it educational. Last week was the premiere of Top Chef Chicago and the contestants were asked to make classic dishes, one of which was chicken piccata. The 2 people on the show who made chicken piccata were not very successful (in the judges eyes, I'm sure I would have loved it) and so I was inspired this week to try chicken piccata myself. My recipe is definitely the classic buttery citrusy chicken that the judges lamented not seeing in the competition.

I have a recipe from my aunt that I have tried once before rather unsuccessfully. That time it was my fault...I forgot to dredge the chicken...oops...and I was appalled by the amount of butter and lessened it. I had also bought chicken from the grocery store, and I don't think that I had cut it properly so that it would be thin pieces.

So now for take two. I decided to go to a butcher for the chicken because I've always felt that the grocery store just has poor quality chicken. The butcher was also appealing to me because I could ask him to cut the breasts properly and it would mean less handling of raw meat for me (can you feel me shudder?) I went to Bisher's Quality Meats in old town Poway because I have a friend who gets her meat there. I was happy to see that he had wrapped everything in individual plastic bags and then one big plastic bag before wrapping it all in the butcher paper (as a teacher I've never really thought of the origin of the term "butcher paper"...interesting.) I don't know why this pleased me so much, I guess it just seemed clean and professional. The chicken was pricier than the grocery store of course, but since we don't eat meat that often, I figured it's ok to splurge now and then.

I followed the recipe to the letter with no mistakes. And so we had dinner.

The last time I attempted this, I left out the capers too, because, as a picky eater, I wasn't sure if I would approve. They went in this time, and as predicted, I did not approve. The chicken was good (much better than the grocery store has ever provided us with.) And the sauce was pretty good too. Maybe...slowly but surely...I'm getting over my fear of raw chicken. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I can't wait to see what they're cooking up on Top Chef tonight (Bravo 10/9 central.)

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