chicken piccata and cauliflower puree – an easy weeknight meal

Picatta4My dear friend Suneeta constantly inspires me with her brilliant recipes and passion for food. A few months ago, we both attempted to limit the amount of carbs in our diets. Sadly, this attempt lasted all of three days for me {I have never been good with diets of any kind}, and slightly longer for her. However there was one low carb meal that Suneeta created that I enjoyed so much that I still cook it every other week – chicken piccata and cauliflower puree. I have long made chicken piccata from various, overly complicated recipes, but never have I experienced truly amazing homemade chicken piccata until Suneeta introduced me to the America’s Test Kitchen recipe {subscription required}. The addition of the thinly sliced lemons to the sauce adds a perfect amount of citrus zest that deeply infuses the sauce, and the shallots provide a delicious contrast. I was shocked by how a few simple ingredients were transformed into a luscious, restaurant-quality sauce, and how quickly. And the cauliflower puree, a brilliant substitute for heavy mashed potatoes, is so adaptable – depending on my mood, I add either butter or olive oil and sometimes, grated Parmesan cheese {you could easily add some fresh herbs and spices as well}. Add a simple salad of mixed greens tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette and you have a delicious, {somewhat} healthy meal that can be thrown together after work in about 30 minutes.

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Note: To make this meal on a work night, I start the pot of water boiling for the cauliflower, and then get cracking on the piccata. While the piccata is warming in the oven, I puree the cauliflower.

Chicken Piccata

  • 1 large lemons
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise {butterflied and then split}
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons small capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced {optional}
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley leaves, minced

Adjust the rack in your oven to the lower-middle position. Set a large ovenproof plate on the rack and heat your oven to 200°F.

Halve one lemon, lengthwise. Trim the ends from one half and cut into thin slices. Juice the remaining half and the other whole lemon, leaving you with about 1/4 cup juice. Set aside.

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a large plate or pie plate. Dredge the chicken in the flour and shake the chicken pieces to remove the excess flour.

Heat a large {12 inch} skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl the pan to coat. Lay the chicken pieces in the pan. Saute the pieces, without moving them, until lightly browned on the first side, about 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook until the second side is browned, another 3 minutes longer. Transfer the cooked chicken to the plate in the oven.

Once all of the chicken has moved to the oven, add the minced shallot to the pan. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and lemon slices, increase the heat to high, and deglaze the pan. Scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and work them into the sauce. Simmer until the liquid reduces down to about 1/4 cup, about 4 minutes. Add the capers and the reserved lemon juice and simmer, again, until the sauce is reduced down to 1/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter. Swirl the pan until the butter melts and thickens the sauce. {Note: Adding butter at this step is not necessary – I have tried not adding butter at this step, and it is equally delicious}. Stir in the parsley. Serve the sauce over the chicken.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen and here

Pureed Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan {optional}
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. While water is boiling, cut cauliflower into florets and remove stalks. Rinse florets in colander. Once water comes to a boil, add florets and boil for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour florets into a colander and set aside for a few minutes to drain.

Pour florets into a food processor, add butter or oil, Parmesan {if using} and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Pulse the processor for 30 seconds or until evenly pureed. Pour into serving bowl and serve immediately.

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16 Responses to chicken piccata and cauliflower puree – an easy weeknight meal

  1. I love this, pureed cauliflower is a wonderful substitute for mashed potatoes and the piccata looks delicious. I love low carb diets and have been very successful with them, although I haven’t been following lately I need to get back on the wagon. Your recipe inspired me.

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thanks Suzanne! That’s wonderful that you have had success with low carb diets – I do think that cutting out or reducing carbs is the best way to go, for many health reasons, but I need to somehow obtain much more willpower than I currently have! 🙂

  2. That all sounds delicious and I got a cauliflower in my vegetable box this week. Bizarrely it is orangey yellow…

  3. andmorefood says:

    I love cauliflowe, and it’s just so near that it’s highly adaptable. your dish look great!

  4. I’ve been wanting to try chicken piccata. I’ll have to make this.

  5. Alecia says:

    yes I agree with a pug in the kitchen – cauliflower is such a great substitute for a potato. This looks delicious as always.

    xx Alecia

  6. This looks divine, I adore chicken piccata, just delicious. I made celeriac puree last night for supper and now I’m going to have to go and get a cauliflower and try this!

  7. laurasmess says:

    It’s been a long time since I ate cauliflower. I do love it when it’s baked in spices but I’ve never tried it pureed. Sounds wonderful with the chicken piccata, such a great weeknight idea! I’m going to try it very soon… and don’t worry, I’m just as terrible at diets as you. I’ve given up! Oh well. Moderation is definitely the key in my opinion xo

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