Tuesday marked the second legendary Mystery Box Challenge dinner for Bryan and I. This time I went with him to the store, he told me the ingredient to be used there, and then the store aided as my “pantry”. Now, I was in a particularly indecisive mood so I was hoping that he would pick something that would at least give me a little direction in where I wanted to go with this meal. What does he pick? CHICKEN!! Of all things, you could do the most with chicken. I pleaded with him to at least give me a spice or cuisine he wanted me to go with it towards but he did no such thing.
From the store I racked my brain. There were so many things that I could do with chicken I really didn’t know what it was I was going to do. I know he likes Italian and for some reason I thought I would do chicken piccata. I wanted to make it fancy but I really couldn’t come up with anything to make it fancy, it is a simple dish. So I kept it fairly simple, light, and fresh for a hot summer evening. From the store I grabbed capers, lemons, chicken stock, garlic, baby potatoes, and broccoli to go with the chicken.
Once home I immediately set a pot of water to boil the potatoes. I also preheated the oven to 450 degrees, knowing that these would be my two biggest time crunches…and I was right. I got the potatoes parboiling, cut the broccoli crowns and tossed them simply with salt and lemon pepper to pair with the piccata. I took the potatoes out once they had cooked about 80% through, drained them, patted them dry, and then semi-mashed them but keeping them intact, tossed them liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper, and finally with fresh rosemary from the garden. I put them and the potatoes in the very hot oven to give them a good crisp.
For the piccata it was actually quite simple. I first pounded them thin, seasoned them with salt and pepper and then dredged them lightly in flour. I seared them on both sides for about 4 minutes in a pan and then removed them to a plate. I deglazed the pan with dry white wine and then added chopped garlic, chicken stock, capers and lemon juice. I allowed that to reduce a bit and then added the chicken back to the pan to cook about 2 minutes on each side. I removed them to the dinner plates, added the broccoli and potatoes to the plate and a sprig of fresh rosemary and a sliced lemon for plating. I then finished the sauce with a smidge of butter and then poured that over the chicken.
We ate outside where it was perfect out and the dinner came out quite well. The chicken was fantastic, I thought it was perfectly cooked and seasoned with just the right amount of lemon. The broccoli was how I like it, slightly charred on the florets but with still a bit of crunch. The only thing I need to work on is the potatoes. And with that it was all about time. Even though I had them boiling for at least 20 minutes they were large enough that they could have used more time. I had a little difficult time “mashing” them as thin as I would have liked and they could have used even more olive oil and salt and more time in the oven to get that fantastic crunch that I have had at some of the restaurants here in Seattle. All in all I was very pleased with the outcome of my second Mystery Box Challenge, and Bryan was too.