Alan and I enjoy a great restaurant as much as anyone, but generally, we prefer to enjoy date nights at home. It’s cozy. Open a nice bottle of wine, cook up something scrumptious and just hang out together in the kitchen. Even more so on Valentine’s Day. The restaurants are crowded and odds are the food is sub par and overpriced. Plus, Alan more or less spoils me every day of the year, so Valentine’s has never been a huge event in our relationship. Cards, maybe flowers, always a nice bottle of wine and definitely a great meal. My chicken piccata is one of Alan’s all-time favorites, so I am surprising him with it for dinner tonight.
Pasta is always a treat in our house, but this sauce reigns king! It literally explodes with big flavors. It took me a while to get this recipe right. It’s certainly not a traditional chicken piccata recipe. I add garlic, shallot, white wine, tomatoes and …. anchovy. I can almost see you wrinkling your nose. But wait, I promise this sauce does not taste the LEAST bit fishy. The anchovy itself completely melts into the sauce, leaving behind an amazing depth of flavor. Just trust me.
Seriously, when a meal starts with all this……….?
The recipe is easy peasy- but the sauce comes together fast, so do all your chopping, juicing and measuring BEFORE you start cooking.
First, pound your chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are sort of an odd shape, thick on one end and thin on another. In order to cook evenly and avoid rubbery chicken piccata- just pound to an even thickness-probably about 1/2″ thick. I waxed poetic on the superiority of chicken thighs to breasts when we made the Grilled Chicken Thighs with the Greek yogurt sauce. (yum!). So, I won’t bore you with it again- suffice it to say- your chicken piccata will be far more flavorful with chicken thighs rather than breasts. End speech.
And if you do not own one of these meat tenderizers that flips around to act as a meat pounder-outer thingy (anyone know what that is called…?) you can buy one here. No kitchen is complete without a meat pounder-outer thingy.
Once your chicken is cooked and set aside, you quickly sauté the garlic, shallots and anchovy in a little butter. They cook for just one hot minute then in goes the wine, lemon juice and capers. Everything needs to be ready to add to the pan- hence how important it is to prep. Reduce the wine, swirl in butter, add tomatoes and voila- the sauce that reigns king (or maybe queen) in our kitchen. Seriously so decadent and just bursting with flavor- tangy from the lemon, a briny bite from the capers, freshness from the tomatoes, and silky with butter. Date night worthy pasta.
Happy Valentine’s Day! As always, thanks for being here and don’t forget to enter your email to subscribe to the blog and receive new recipes in your in-box each week. Happy Cooking- Alan & Amanda