At first glance, chicken piccata and low sodium don’t seem to go together. Usually piccata dishes are made with salty capers. But Ann, from Thibeault’s Table, makes piccata with dried green peppercorns.
From Penzeys Spices:Ann is a wonderful cook and is always willing to share recipes and helpful techniques. Her use of green peppercorns is inspired and creates another way to make delicious low sodium sauces.
Green peppercorns come from the same Indian vines as our robust black Tellicherry peppercorns, but are harvested before they mature, yielding green pepper with a fresh, clean flavor... Dried green peppercorns can be ground in a peppermill like black peppercorns or crushed between your fingers.
A few nights ago, I couldn’t decide what to make for dinner. Hoping for some inspiration, I defrosted a package of two salt free boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The pieces were rather large, so I cut one in two and pounded it thin. (I saved the 2nd piece for another day)
Following Ann’s guidelines, I brought 1 cup of no-salt-added chicken broth to a boil and added a tablespoon of green peppercorns. Then I turned the heat down to reduce the broth while I cooked the chicken pieces.
I wasn’t in the mood to fuss with anything, so I just sprinkled the chicken pieces with Penzeys’ Sunny Spain lemon pepper. Then I dipped the chicken in an egg wash and dredged in homemade low sodium bread crumbs. Sauteed quickly in oil until each side was well browned. Then drained on paper towels.
Back to the sauce -- I could have added cream or created a light roux, but I didn’t. I was tired and running late, so I simply added the juice of half a lemon and a tablespoon of butter. In my rush, I forgot to include some lemon zest and some parsley I had pulled out of the fridge. But it didn’t matter! I poured the sauce over the crispy chicken pieces, scooped up some peas, and served dinner. Delicious, crispy, tangy, with a peppery zing! And low sodium too! Thanks, Ann, for the inspiration.
Here’s my low sodium adaptation of Ann’s recipe:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded thin
(substitute veal scaloppini or pork tenderloin)
low sodium breadcrumbs (if desired)
1 egg, beaten (if making crumb-crusted piccata)
1 to 2 teaspoons butter
1 to 2 teaspoons flour
1 cup no-salt-added chicken broth
juice of one lemon
1 tbsp. Green Peppercorns (add more if desired)
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
Bring chicken broth to a boil and add peppercorns. Allow to sit for 10 or 15 minutes to soften.
Heat oil in skillet. Dip veal/chicken into seasoned flour and saute one or two at a time, quickly on each side. Remove from pan. (Optional: omit flour; dip veal/chicken in egg wash and then dredge in breadcrumbs)
Heat tablespoon butter, 1 to 2 teaspoons flour, cook for a couple of minutes (do not brown), add minced garlic. Add chicken broth with peppercorns and simmer until reduced. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Place the meat back into pan and simmer until reheated. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley
Serve with either a side of pasta or with potatoes and vegetables.
To see Ann’s beautiful picture and original recipe, click HERE. To see another of Ann’s green peppercorn sauces, this time with beef, click HERE.