One of the most delicious recipe styles is “SCAMPI STYLE”. Generally it means a saute’ of Shrimp but the style can also be used on other seafood and poultry. Chicken has that amazing ability to retain it’s distinctive poultry flavor yet take on all the flavors you’re cooking it with. Versatile is the word! Garlic, Olive Oil, a bit of Butter, Wine, Lemon, and Parsley are the typical ingredients in the “sauce” that is created for Shrimp Scampi. Just replace the Shrimp with Chicken, in this case cut pieces of Boneless Chicken Breast. OK, let A FOOD OBSESSION voice his very opinionated OPINION on white meat chicken. It’s delicious when you are using good chicken (I use Organic chicken) and when you season it well and don’t overcook it. Oh I like thigh meat and bone in thigh pieces for various Chicken Dishes as they will perform better in certain recipes than White meat, especially off the bone. This is a showcase recipe for the unjustly maligned Boneless breast. Sorry, you’re not getting FOODIE points from me if you bash white meat chicken..lol. Everything has it’s place. By the way, I once tried this preparation with boneless thighs. There’s a reason why THEY aren’t in the picture above. Key to any dish being its best is the quality of the underlying ingredients. Use that rule and your dishes will excel!! Now talking to one of my inner food circle friends, he thought this dish sounded a bit like his idea of Lemon Chicken. I make Lemon Chicken about 1000 ways as does everyone else, it’s one of those recipes that’s just a name of any recipe of chicken and lemons. I’m pretty much keeping to the Scampi style here so I gave this that name. Now there are some Chicken Scampi recipes on the WEB that simply have nothing to do with the agreed on recipe or method of SCAMPI STYLE. Sauteed Peppers and Onions in the mix do not a Scampi make. Call me closed minded but that would be Chicken with Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Wine, etc. Next order of Shrimp Scampi you get, check to see if it comes loaded down with peppers and onions (hello, sometimes restaurants do that just to bulk up a dish…so, just putting that out there). Don’t confuse my recipe with the one that comes from that ItalianAmerican chain restaurant…just saying. What would you serve it with? As much as I love Pasta this dish LOVES Rice or oven roasted potatoes. Those would be my choices, you like the Pasta? use the Pasta. Quinoa, CousCous..Israel CousCous..all go nicely too. The choice is yours…now let’s cook!
TIME: 1 hour SERVES: 4
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into 3 pieces and lightly pounded
1 CUP Seasoned All Purpose Flour (Seasoned With Salt, Pepper, Granulated Garlic)
4 Tablespoons EXTRA VIRGIN Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, SLICED THIN or MINCED
1 Cup White Wine
Juice From 1 Lemon, 5 thin lemon slices, for garnish.
1 Cup ORGANIC LOW SODIUM Chicken Broth, preferably homemade
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh ITALIAN FLAT LEAF Parsley, plus some sprigs for garnish
Kosher Salt , Fresh Ground Black Pepper
SPLURGE HERE: 3 TBS. of EUROPEAN BUTTER, UNSALTED for finishing the sauce. (no interest in the Euro-Butter? ok, any unsalted butter will do. But that EuroButter….)
This recipe works best with pounding the chicken pieces. Pound them to about 1/4 inch, no thicker. Dredge them in the seasoned flour and shake off the excess. AFO NOTE: why are we flouring them? creates a moister chicken at the end of the saute’, helps create some body for the pan sauce without making it “thick”. In a wide pan, add the olive oil and heat. Saute’ the chicken for about 4 minutes per side, till golden.
Remove the chicken which you’ve cooked in batches ( AFO NOTE: crowding creates cooking chaos!!! the oil will drop in temp, the touching of the chicken will create steam pockets and there will be no browning. Are you in a race? OK, good, take your time cooking. That’s what makes a dish..attention paid to all the details!!!) to a bowl or platter and tent with foil.
Deglaze the pan with a little of the White Wine and pour it over the chicken. Now add 2 tbs. of ExtraVirgin Olive oil to the pan and when it’s heated add the garlic and saute’ just till fragrant, only takes about 1 minute. To this add the wine and the broth, pinch of salt, and when reduced by 1/4 add the chicken back to the pan. Bring this to a boil then IMMEDIATELY reduce to a simmer. Let this cook for only about 4 minutes then add the Lemon juice and the parsley. Mix. The move the chicken to the sides of the pan giving you a small area in the center to melt in the butter. As soon as it’s melted (takes only seconds) make sure it’s incorporated into the whole pan and all the chicken is coated. Remove from the heat. Gently mix in the parsley and season to taste with the salt and pepper.
Serve immediately. AFO NOTE: if you over heat the butter, it separates immediately and doesn’t thicken your sauce. Make sure you don’t over heat it!
Enjoy your CHICKEN SCAMPI STYLE…btw, always test the chicken for it being fully cooked by slicing into a piece, it should be easy to slice into, the juices should run clear.