January 04, 2011

Chicken Piccata + Asparagus with Lemon-Cream Sauce

Flipping through The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook I received as an Xmas present, I quickly found a recipe I wanted to make:  Chicken Piccata.  Browned chicken cutlets covered with a savory lemon sauce... Who could pass that up?  Now I just had to decide what else to serve with it.

Having been pleased with the Asparagus with Garlic Cream Sauce I made recently, I decided to make up something similar to go with the Chicken Piccata.  After considering options, I decided to make lemon the common ingredient between the two dishes, adding both lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice to the cream.

I decided to also cook up some egg noodles, toss them with butter and a bit of chopped, fresh parsley and serve the chicken up atop the noodles.

The Chicken Piccata didn't brown up quite as nicely as I'd have wished, for reasons unclear to me.   This meant I had to cook it a couple extra minutes to get significant browning, and that resulted in the cutlets being less tender than should have been the case.   The flavor was exceptional, though, due to the sauce's mix of butter, lemon, sweet shallots and capers.   If all the recipes in this book are anywhere as good as this one, I'm going to love this cookbook.

The Asparagus with Lemon-Cream Sauce was also quite good, with the sweetness of the cream balancing out the sour of the lemon.  I think I'm going to have to come up with some different sorts of sauce to go with asparagus, because the cream sauces work out so well, I'm at risk of getting in a rut of making endless variants. 

The egg noodles went along very well with the chicken, and rounded out the dinner nicely.

Asparagus with Garlic Cream Sauce

yield = 3 servings

1       tablespoon unsalted butter
1       bunch of asparagus, trimmed
1/2    teaspoon minced garlic
1/2    cup heavy cream
1       tablespoon lemon zest
         salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.   Add the asparagus in a single layer and fry, turning frequently with tongs, until the asparagus spears are soft and have a few darkened spots.  Transfer asparagus to a serving plate. 

Add the garlic and fry, stirring often, 1 minute.  Add the cream and lemon zest.   Stir frequently, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, then stir in the lemon juice and cook another minute or so.  Pour over asparagus and serve.

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