With Valentine’s Day falling midweek this year I’m using it as an opportunity to make a fuss of next Wednesday night’s dinner. I’ll get my two boys to make place cards for everyone and will help my two-year-old to set the table.
They love any special occasions and I do too especially if it brightens an otherwise quiet evening. As a mother of three under the age of six, I’ve decided that going out is overrated, especially this time of year.
Avoid set menus and double sittings and just cook at home, with or without toddlers. This is a Valentine’s dish with a difference: it’s sure to impress yet it’s easy to make.
Chicken piccata is a delicious mix of textures and flavours. It has the comforting crunch of buttery fried breadcrumbs with the fresh citrus lemon sauce and salty capers to give it that edge. Serve with pasta or mashed potato to make the most of this delicious sauce.
This dish is perfect with Champagne or a bottle of something dry and sparkling. The effervescent bubbles are an ideal match for the crunchy chicken.
Some chicken piccata recipes suggest simply dredging the chicken in flour but I like the texture and occasion that the breadcrumbs create. You just know it’s an indulgent special occasion dish if you’ve bothered to triple dip that chicken in flour, egg and crumbs.
If you can’t find panko breadcrumbs then toast your own by spreading them on a tray and baking in an oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, stirring half way through.
Chicken is a real crowd-pleaser. Using this butterflied method makes three chicken breasts stretch to feed more. My kids love this dish, it’s real family food that can be elevated by the amazing buttery lemon sauce, which is also equally as good with fish.
Served with a side of salad or green vegetables, this is one dish everyone is sure to love.
3 chicken breasts
4 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, whisked
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
50ml white wine
100ml stock or water
1 tbsp Capers, rinsed well with water
1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
Pasta or mashed potato
Green vegetables such as broccoli or spinach
1. Place each chicken breast on the chopping board and butterfly it open by placing your hand flat on top and carefully slicing it in half horizontally. Then cut each piece in half. Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag and flatten with a rolling pin to ensure it all cooks evenly.
2. Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Pour the whisked egg into another shallow bowl and put the toasted breadcrumbs into a third bowl.
3. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy based pan over a medium-high heat. Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, egg and then crumbs. Fry the chicken in the pan for 4 minutes on each side until done. Transfer to an oven-proof plate and keep warm while you make the sauce.
4. Without cleaning the pan place another tbsp of butter in along with the garlic. Cook over a low heat for a few minutes, add the white wine and increase the heat slightly. Scrape down the sides of the pan to loosen all of the brown pieces. Add the water and leave to simmer for five minutes and reduce slightly. Whisk in two tablespoons of butter. Add the lemon juice, parsley and capers.
5. Remove the chicken from the oven and serve with the sauce and pasta or mashed potatoes and vegetables.