There are many restaurant recipes one can recreate at home in 20 minutes and for a fraction of the cost. I made this Chicken Scallopini dish at home for about one-fifth of what one would pay at a restaurant. This recipe is tasty to us because it contains tangy capers and lemon butter sauce. Another recipe using capers can be found here.
What are Capers?
Capers are edible flower buds, or larger berries, that are brined like olives and are prized for their distinctive, lemony flavor. Cultivated mainly in Sicily, Morocco, and Spain, capers. First mentioned around 2,000 B.C.E. in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, To this day, they remain a part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Capers are high in vitamins A, K, niacin, riboflavin, and two antioxidant compounds, Rutin and Quercetin and two antioxidant compounds, Rutin and Quercetin and are believed to aid gastric digestion of meats. You will find them in many classic dishes such as Italian Chicken, Veal Piccata, Spaghetti Puttanesca, or French Salade Niçoise. They are very salty so a few Capers go a long way. Capers are inexpensive and available in small jars in your local grocery store.
Chicken Scalollopini is said to be a modern Italian dish with French roots. The name Scallopini is likely derived from the 17th-century French word Escalope, meaning very thinly sliced meat. Nowadays, nearly all nations have their own version of thinly pounded meat cutlets, such as Japanese Katsudon or German Schnitzel. A very similar dish is Chicken Piccata, where piccata is about the specific sauce and scallopini refers to the cut of meat.
Why You Should Never Wash Chicken Before You Cook It
Raw poultry harbors Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria. Washing chicken can cause the dangerous germs to splash (up to 3 feet away) from the raw meat onto other surfaces. This can contaminate your kitchen sink and counters or transfer to other foods. Instead of washing, simply pat the meat dry with paper towels and wash your hands right after handling raw poultry. Dry meat also browns better. USDA suggests cooking to 165F in order to kill the bacteria. Read more on handling chicken here.
- 1 c Flour
- 2 Tbsp Oil or clarified butter
- 1/2 c White wine
- 1/4 c Lemon juice
- 1/4 c Capers
- 2 Tbsp Cold butter (for sauce)
- Slice lemon (for serving)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Gather ingredients.
- You can purchase chicken cutlets, but they are more expensive. To butterfly your own, lay a chicken breast flat on a cutting board, place your palm on top of the breast, and slice it in half horizontally, starting from the thicker end.
- Lightly coat each cutlet in flour and shake off the excess.
- In a large skillet, on medium heat, fry chicken on both sides until golden brown on the outside (until the internal temperature reaches 160F).
- Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm, while making the sauce.
- Add wine and lemon juice to the skillet, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. (the culinary term for the caramelized bits left in the bottom of a pan is “fond”).
- Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter and capers. Add a tablespoon of butter at the end of cooking to achieve a silky sauce.
- Add chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pan, coat the chicken with sauce, then add lemon-caper butter sauce.
- This hearty dish goes well with a variety of side dishes, such as pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, vegetables, or salads.
Enjoy and share food with others!
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