Welcome to day 16 of 30 Days to a Food Revolution. Today’s guest blogger is Carol. Carol Kicinski is a professional recipe developer, freelance food writer, television chef on the nationally syndicated morning show Daytime, cookbook author (Simply…Gluten-free Desserts), manufacturer of a gluten-free flour blend and publisher of the award winning gluten-free blog Simply…Gluten-free. Rather than looking at the world in terms of what she can’t eat, she celebrates the ABUNDANCE of gluten-free living.
Recipe: Gluten-free Chicken Piccata
Tip: Remove, Restore, Reinvent!
With the increasing availability of packaged gluten-free flour alternatives for all purpose, processed wheat flour, gluten-free cooks have gotten into the habit of substituting one highly processed food item for another.
When I first became gluten-free, the products available to me were nothing I would personally eat. They lacked refinement, quality and most important, taste. So I had to re-learn how to cook old favorites and classic dishes.
My technique was simple really. Remove, restore and reinvent. Remove the offending ingredient (i.e. the gluten) restore the recipe with something that would actually ADD flavor and nutrients thus reinventing the dish.
Chicken Piccata is a classic for a reason. It is elegant, simple to prepare and can be made in about 20 minutes.
By removing processed flour (whether it be gluten or gluten-free) and restoring the dish with ground almonds (low carb, higher in protein and unprocessed) the dish is reinvented into something that is not only healthier but, most importantly, just as delicious. In fact the almonds lend a nuttiness and richness to the chicken, which when cut with lemon results in a luxurious dish that is, in my opinion, superior to the original recipe.
My contribution to the movement started by Jamie Oliver to revolutionize the way American eats is this – Remove – Restore – Reinvent! Change they way you and your family eats. Don’t just replace one offending ingredient with another. Think outside the box.
You may find it ironic that I, as a manufacturer of a gluten-free flour product, would come out against the practice of replacing one processed form of flour for another. My flour is a refined product which came about when I could not find a commercially available gluten-free flour blend with a delicate enough texture to produce results I was looking for in my finished desserts. But life is about balance. If we eat whole, healthy foods the majority of the time, a gluten-free cupcake is not going to kill us. And if we are going to bake and eat a gluten-free cupcake, well, it may as well be great!
Normally the chicken breasts for Chicken Piccata are butterflied but I simply can’t be bothered. Besides, pounding out the chicken is a great stress reliever! As a note the pounded chicken breast looks so much bigger – you fool yourself into thinking you are eating much more than you actually are – a good weight loss tip!
Gluten (and Grain) Free Chicken Piccata
4 boneless, skinless, organic, hormone-free chicken breast halves
1 cup raw almonds (or you can use ground almond meal)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter – use divided
½ cup dry white wine (or use gluten-free chicken stock – preferably homemade)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup capers in brine, drained
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Additional lemons for garnish and serving
Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a work surface, place a chicken breast half on top and lay another piece of plastic wrap on top of that. Pound the chicken breast with a rolling pin or bottom of a heavy skillet until it is about ¼ inch think. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
Put almonds in food processor and process in pulses until the almonds turn into a fine meal. Be careful not to turn it into paste. Add the parmesan cheeses, salt and pepper and pulse a couple more times to mix. If using almond meal, just mix the flour, cheese, salt and pepper together. Spread the mixture on a large plate.
Rinse the pounded chicken breasts in water and shake off the excess. Dredge the chicken in the almond mixture, gently pressing the mixture onto the chicken.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the oil is hot and the butter melted, place two prepared chicken breast in the pan – do not over crowd! Cook for 3 -4 minutes or until they are well browned. Flip and cook for 3- 4 minutes on the other side. Remove cooked chicken breasts to a serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm. You can also place the plate in a warm oven. Repeat procedure with the remaining chicken breasts.
Add the wine or chicken stock and lemon juice to the pan. Scrape the pan to incorporate all the browned bits of almond. Add the capers and cook until the sauce is reduced by about half. It should be the consistency of light syrup. Stir in the remaining butter until melted.
Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts, top with chopped parsley and serve with lemon slices or wedges.
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