Saturday, May 25, 2013

Chicken Piccata

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:
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.
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.

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:

Chicken Piccata
(Printable 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)
olive oil

Piccata Sauce:

1 to 2 teaspoons butter
1 to 2 teaspoons flour
1 cup no-salt-added chicken broth
lemon zest
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.


Thibeault's Table said...

Sue, Now I have a craving for Chicken Piccata. Thank you for the mention.

I never thought of this dinner as low sodium, but it makes sense. And the peppercorns add so much flavour that even I wouldn't miss the salt.


shambo said...

Ann, I would have never thought of using green peppercorns if it hadn't been for your own frequent use. I think the combination of the tangy lemon and the peppery bite make the sauce so tasty that the salt isn't missed. Of course, it would help even more if I'd remember to put in the lemon zest and chopped parsley.

Jenny said...

I've never tried green peppercorns, and never cooked with lemon pepper. So much to learn! I could see how the peppercorns would be a fun twist, especially if someone is expecting to bite into a caper instead. And what is that lovely side? I think I see some artichoke hearts in there? Looks delicious.

shambo said...

Jenny, the green peppercorns don't have as much of a bite as black ones. Also, they're not as hard to start with and simmering makes them even less hard. No worries about breaking a tooth.

I think Penzeys Sunny Spain lemon pepper is much tastier than grocery store varieties.

I used to fix tofu "steaks" just like the chicken. I bet the piccata sauce would be good with crispy coated tofu.

No artichokes, just some fresh oyster mushroom sauteed with slices of red onion and then combined with peas.

Jenny said...

I've heard good things about Penzey's. Will have to try that. Thank you for the tofu idea, sounds great. Your oyster mushroom side looks wonderful as well.