You know Anthony ‘Rocco’ DiGrazia from his famous restaurant dedicated to everything Windy City, Rocco’s Little Chicago. But did you know the Chicago native also spends his free time perfecting Old County recipes?
DiGrazia shares with us one of her staple comfort food recipes that are sure to please any carnivore: Meyer Chicken Piccata with Lemon Rosemary.
“This is my favorite variety of chicken piccata, which is one of those really easy recipes that someone can cook that looks and tastes pretty awesome and the dish is adaptable,” said DiGrazia.
Hopefully we are all familiar with the Italian method of filleting, doughing and sautéing a protein called piccata. The method is similar to breading and frying chicken, but adds a few more steps to prepare the meat and the sauce that goes with it. While Italians traditionally make the dish with veal, Italian Americans have started adapting the recipe to use yardbird because of its affordability and availability.
DiGrazia said he was inspired to play with the traditional chicken piccata recipe after receiving a large batch of Meyer lemons from a friend years ago. Meyer lemons taste sweeter and more orangey than their sour sister, lemon.
“I was wondering what I was going to do with this big batch of Meyer lemons and it came to me,” said DiGrazia. “I added rosemary because it pairs well with citrus and generally chicken piccata doesn’t have garlic, but I add garlic to everything.”
While the process of fluttering the chicken (cutting the chicken breast on the side, but stopping just before cutting the breast into two pieces) and then dredging the breast into the flour before sautéing is traditionally the same, the secret of this dish lies in the sauce.
If you can’t get your hands on a few Meyer lemons, DiGrazia has a great hack that works well in a pinch.
“A Meyer lemon is basically two parts lemon for one part orange,” DiGrazia said. “You can use about ½ cup of lemon juice, then a tablespoon or two of orange juice to bring out some of the sweetness and reduce some of the acid.”
DiGrazia recommends pairing the finished dish with ricotta gnocchi and a glass of your favorite wine.
Rocco’s Meyer with Chicken Piccata with Lemon and Rosemary
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup chicken broth
½ cup Meyer lemon juice
¼ cup rinsed capers OR julienned kalamata
A 6 inch sprig of fresh rosemary, peeled and
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped to garnish
Butterfly chicken breasts and stack if they are
not more than ¼ inch thick.
Season the chicken with S&P to taste.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and all the oil in a large cast iron
iron skillet (preferred) or skillet over medium heat.
Dip the chicken in the flour and shake off the excess
Brown the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side until
lightly browned then on a paper towel.
To make the sauce:
Sauté the rosemary and garlic in the pan for about a minute, until fragrant. Then add the chicken broth and Meyer lemon juice to the pan.
Scrape the golden pieces and cook until the mixture of broth and juice reduces a little and thickens.
Add the capers or olives to the pan and barely melt any butter remaining in the sauce.
Season the dish with salt and pepper and serve the sauce over the steamed chicken and broccolini.
Garnish with parsley.