03 April 2018

Chicken, Castelvetranos, and Capers

The week after Easter is always about the ham leftovers and the ham bone, and believe you me, SB and I have had our fair share of ham on Sunday and Monday. It's Tuesday now and we have need of a change on the plate! We departed the leftover menu and headed to Italy for a change of pace.

This is an easy dish to make ... it's a pretty complete meal as it stands. I love my pasta though, and would prefer to soak up the juices with pasta and a bit of cheese instead of crusty bread. You can choose your carb fix. I'll stick to some linguini fini and Parmesan.

Back to this platter of food, though. These are chicken thighs with a flour, salt and pepper dredge and crisped in a very hot pan. Then, the pan gets a bit of deglaze with white wine. Capers, olives, parsley and some chicken broth get added and the chicken is finished. The sauce gets thickened with a nugget of butter. The dish is placed on a bed of wilted spinach and crisped bread crumbs. Extra bread crumbs and roasted lemon slices top off the platter. The pan sauces get drizzled all over and ... that is a plate of food that's worthy.

This is how I made it ... in detail.

Chicken, Castelvetranos, and Capers for Two


1 lemon, washed and sliced into 1/4 slices, seeded
1/2 lb. fresh spinach, cleaned and spun out in a salad spinner 
3 - 4 tbsp. fresh bread crumbs
5 tbsp. olive oil, divided plus some for drizzling
4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
flour, salt and black pepper for dredging
1/2 c. Castelvetrano olives ( I used whole olives with pits)
2 tbsp. capers, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
knob of butter - about 2 tbsp.
salt and black pepper, to taste

crusty bread or pasta for mopping up the juices

Making the Dish:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.

2. Prep your ingredient list.

3. Slice the lemons, pop any seeds out, lay the slices out on the parchment paper, sprinkle with some Kosher salt and black pepper, drizzle a bit more olive oil over them and roast them for 20 minutes in the oven. They should begin to brown up around the edges. 

4. Heat a deep fry pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp. oil and the fresh spinach and toss to coat with the oil. Cover and steam to wilt the spinach for a few minutes. Remove the spinach to a plate. Wipe the pan out and return it to the heat. 

5. Add the bread crumbs to the dry pan and toast until slightly browned and crisped.  Spoon them out onto a plate and set aside. Wipe the pan and return to the heat.

6. While the lemons finish roasting,  salt and pepper and dredge the chicken thighs in the flour. Heat 3 tbsp. of olive oil in a deep fry pan over high heat. Add the chicken thighs and let them crisp up without moving them ... about four or five minutes. Flip them and crisp the other side for another 3 minutes.

7. Flip the chicken back to the first crisped side, add the white wine and de-glaze the pan. Scrape any crispy crusties. Add the chicken broth, capers, olives, the lemon slices, and most of the parsley. Let the sauce boil down and reduce by half. I partially covered the pan toward the end of the sauce reduction and turned off the heat to let the chicken rest.

8. Pop a platter in the hot oven to warm while the sauce reduces.  

9. When the sauce has reduced, bring the heat back up, add the knob of butter and let it thicken the sauce a bit. 

10. Arrange the spinach in clumps on the warmed platter, sprinkle with part of the bread crumbs, arrange the chicken pieces over the bed of spinach. Place the olives and lemon slices around and atop the meat. Sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs and parsley.  Drizzle the pan sauce over and around all.

11. Serve with warm crusty bread or boiled pasta.

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