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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Taste-Off: Chicken Piccata

One of my favorite Italian dishes is chicken piccata with angel hair pasta. I love the light tangy sauce with the delicate noodles, and for this picky chicken eater, the scaloppine is usually so tender that I forget I'm eating chicken. I vowed to try to make chicken piccata this year, and I have.

I found the first recipe over at the Food Network courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis. Our entire family really liked the flavor, but the sauce turned out really brown and ugly, and truth be told, it used just a little too much fat for my liking (6 whopping Tablespoons of butter and 5 Tablespoons of olive oil).

My husband loved it, and I made it several times until I came across another recipe that looked lighter at Cookography. Right away I saw several basic differences in the recipe, including a lot less fat (1 Tablespoon of oil and 4 Tablespoons of butter less to be exact) and the addition of some shallot and prosciutto to the sauce. You can just see the difference in color and texture of the sauce below:

I think I actually liked Cookography's version better.* It felt less heavy and I loved the saltiness and texture that the prosciutto added. My husband thinks he liked Giada's version better, but is willing to go with the lighter version to be healthier and because the taste is close to Giada's. Either way, Cookography's version tastes great and is just plain prettier, and so has made it into our regular meal rotation. Next time, though I think I'll added a few artichoke hearts to the mix...

*I made a couple of minor changes: pounded the chicken thin before cooking and used extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil.

**Just out of curiosity, I decided to plug the recipes into Calorie Count's Recipe Analysis program to see how they compared. (I knew both would be high in calories and fat, but we don't eat it that often to be really worried about it.) As expected, Giada's was higher in calories (by only 100 or so), but much higher in fat content (not that Cookography is going to win any low-fat cooking awards on this one!). I used extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil, and it lowers the saturated fat percentage by 5 percentage points.

Giada's piccata:

Cookography's piccata:


Lori March 15, 2009 at 10:24 AM  

You know, sad as it is I have never had Chicken Piccata. I'm always too drawn to the gnocchis and risottos on Italian menus. I definitely need to give it a try. Wow, the calories are surprising. Everyting in moderation though, right? :)

Sarah March 15, 2009 at 2:51 PM  

Thanks for visiting my site hopefully i'll see you again! I love chicken picatta, yum! I'm very jealous of you living in france, I keep on trying to get my husband to transfer there to no avail!! :)

Joie de vivre March 15, 2009 at 6:02 PM  

I don't know if I've ever had piccata either! (reading Lori's comment) I've heard it's really easy and feels fancy though.

Love "Guadalahut" as a name. That is quite witty!

Mindy March 16, 2009 at 4:18 PM  

Chicken piccata is really very simple...probably something I'll make on a weeknight when I return to the States and to work. And it's really a no-brainer in my family because my daughter absolutely loves lemon-flavored things. It's one of the few meals we eat that I don't have to beg her to finish her meat.

Chef E March 16, 2009 at 7:02 PM  

You know I must have fallen off the blog follow list when blog had those problems a few weeks ago and just saw you on another blog...I have missed talking with you and this dish looks great!

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