Last weekend over dinner my dad mentioned he used to have a great chicken and artichoke recipe but had since lost it. Well, maybe my mom tossed it. Where it went remains a mystery but it got me thinking about chicken piccata because the addition of the artichokes would be great. But then I thought, “asparagus would be fab, too.” So decided to make a piccata with both. I love chicken piccata but most of the recipes I’ve found over the years call for so much lemon juice that the acid completely overwhelms my palate. Thus, a little less lemon here which still provides that great taste of piccata we all love without causing you to pucker between bites. Instead of serving it along with spaghetti or capellini, which would be lovely, I served it over a bed of quinoa and arugula salad dotted with a little red onion and kalamata olives.
Chicken Artichoke Piccata
with Quinoa Arugula Salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. red onion, finely diced
3 cups baby arugula leaves
freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded 1″ thick
fresh ground black pepper
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup chicken stock
3 tbsp. capers, rinsed
4 canned artichoke hearts packed in water, drained
3 cups asparagus, about 1 bunch, cut into 2″ pieces – blanched
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot, bring the 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook covered for 10 minutes. Turn heat off and let quinoa sit while you cook the chicken.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add flour to a shallow bowl or plate and dredge chicken breasts, shaking off excess flour. Melt 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. of the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Cook 2 chicken breast at the same time, cooking on each side for 4 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle. Remove breasts to a plate; cover to keep warm. Add 1 more tbsp. of butter and the last tbsp. of oil to the pan. Cook the 2 remaining breasts, removing them to the plate when cooked. To the sauté pan, add lemon juice and chicken stock. Using a wooden spoon, loosen any browned bits from the pan. Bring sauce to a boil and let reduce for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and add capers, artichokes, asparagus and last tbsp. of butter; cook for 2 minutes. Taste sauce and season with pepper and salt if necessary.
In a large bowl, toss quinoa, olives, red onion, and arugula. Salt and pepper to taste. Divide salad among four bowls. Add 1 chicken breast to each plate and spoon piccata vegetables and sauce over top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.