This delightful Italian Grilled Chicken Breasts recipe is a grilled version of the traditional Chicken Piccata.
Grilling always brightens my spirits. Recently, I have been indulging in a little tweaking of Italian dishes by grilling – rather than pan-searing – their primary components. But when New England Nor’easter storms are buffeting the neighborhood, standing outdoors in 35-knot winds and horizontal rain while tending a fire to grill chicken breasts is simply daft. Not wanting to put my fall entertaining at the mercy of the weather gods, I have devised this rendition of Grilled Chicken Piccata.
Beyond the fact that its taste will take your breath away, this is a great technique when you have guests . You can grill the chicken breasts at your leisure and keep them refrigerated until serving time. Your invited diners get to see the glamorous part of the process when – like a maitre ‘d in a tuxedo working tableside – you reheat the chicken breasts in reduced white wine and lemon juice and plate them with a flourish.
Recipe, comments, and photo were shared with me by Skip Lombardi.
- 4 chicken breasts*
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons rosemary (leaves only), finely chopped
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (rind), finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- 4 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Place the chicken breasts between two (2) sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using the side of a cleaver or a meat mallet, pound them to a uniform thickness of approximately 3/8 inch.
Place the breasts in a shallow pan and brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle the rosemary and pepper on both sides of the the chicken and marinate at room temperature for approximately one hour.
Start a charcoal fire. When the coals have developed a gray coating, and you can’t hold your open palm six inches over the fire for a count of five, the fire is ready.
Grill the chicken breasts for approximately two minutes per side, then remove them from the grill. Either proceed with the rest of the recipe below or refrigerate the chicken breasts and store in aluminum foil or a sealed container for up to 48 hours before completing the recipe.
When it is time to finish the dish in the kitchen, melt the butter with a pinch of salt in a saute pan. The pan should be large enough to hold the chicken breasts in one layer. When the butter has melted and foamed, and the foam has subsided, add the chicken breasts. Shake the pan and turn chicken pieces to coat with the butter.
Raise the heat to high and add the white wine. Allow the wine to boil for a minute or two to evaporate the alcohol. Reduce heat to medium and add the capers along with the lemon juice and rind (zest). Keep liquid simmering, shaking the pan and turning the chicken breasts from time to time. When the sauce has reduced and looks glossy, remove pan from heat.
To Serve, spoon a tablespoon of the sauce over each breast. Serve the chicken, with any remaining sauce, on warmed dinner plates. Sprinkle parsley over each portion.
Accompaniments: Tuscan roasted potatoes and sauteed spinach. Warmed, crusty bread and a simple green salad would be equally welcome
Makes 4 servings.
* The U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as food agencies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, advises against washing poultry. Rinsing chicken will not remove or kill much bacteria, and the splashing of water around the sink can spread the bacteria found in raw chicken. Cooking poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit effectively destroys the most common culprits behind food-borne illness.