All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014
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I always adored chicken piccata. I love capers, I love lemon and, defiantly, I love parsley! But, about 25 years ago, I gave up meat from mammals & poultry. “Meat from mammals” sounds like something they found at Jeffrey Dahmer’s because – well – that IS what they found there. But I mean I gave up red meat which, sorry folks, includes pork, and I gave up chicken & the like. I only gave up seafood this year (because of lots of things but Fukushima was the last straw).
I miss the oddest things from the meat & chicken world. Costco hotdogs. Big Macs (which I would no longer eat because of pink slime etc – even if I ate meat). Really, really rare steak. Any real selection of any ethnic food beyond Indian. Tacos (fish tacos). Street cart kinda food. And chicken piccata.
So – with all this fake meat suddenly deluging the market – I have begun to get quite busy experimenting with it. In the past, fake meat was seitan or tempeh – which I find have flavors too specific to mask easily and tofu which has always underwhelmed me- and now soy is all GMO & shit & so I try to avoid that, too. Then there are veggie burgers & veggie dogs – which are reasonable replacements for the real thing but they can’t be turned into chicken piccata. And the fake breakfast sausage patties they make are great! A decent fake bacon is still an apparition on the horizon – except for the chemical-burn inducing Bacos – which I have been known to eat, by the jar, with a bottle of red.
Sometimes, I am really gross & pathetic.
Anyway, it seems that overnight – there is a selection of fake meats in even the most mainstream supermarkets and I have been having great success with them! Look at how delicious a vegan chicken (firecracker chicken) can be!
Prefer beef? Behold!
Better yet – here is a coupon for some FREE fake meat – good until the end of May 2014!
OK – so – chicken piccata! OK – the first time I attempted it this week – I used these cutlet things because they seemed to replicate real chicken piccata visually better.
So – I whipped them up into a piccata & made myself that garlic baby broccoli, and some lemon-basil baby squash & some jalapeno mashed cauliflower – plated it up & commenced photographing it. Here are the results:
While this was all very delicious (though these cutlet-style pieces retain some of the stronger and not altogether awesome flavors of earlier faux meat products) – I did not like the darkness of the “chicken” piccata in these photos. So – I endeavored to make it again using some chicken strip-style faux meat I had.
I picked around in this bag & pulled out all the larger strips I could find. I used about half this bag in the recipe here. (UPDATE – I would suggest using Beyond Meat – if you can find it near you.)
And look at how convincingly it looks like chicken once it is cooked! Isn’t that amazing? I am very excited about this & VERY glad I attempted this recipe a second time. This brand of fake chicken tastes way better than any of the Gardein products I have tried but Simple Truth products are really Kroger products & this Simple Truth folks were recently exposed as being lying motherfuckers. Or MISLEADING motherfuckers, at the very least. Read about the lawsuit HERE. And PS – I once bought a few cans of Kroger pitted black olives & they tasted SO MUCH like chemicals – I actually returned the unopen cans for a refund. That marks my ONLY return of a grocery item in my life! I avoid Kroger now whenever I can (no pun intended!). 🙂 So – I still highly recommend the Trader Joe’s faux beef & chicken products & the Beyond Meat stuff that the coupon above is for.
Chicken piccata is a dish that allows a bit of wiggle room. I REALLY like capers & I love lemon – so I go heavy on these. I will admit, I actually used real butter here but a vegan option is perfectly fine. There is a shallot in my pictures but I forgot to use it. Oops!
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Vegan Chicken Piccata
About 1/2 lb of vegan chicken (like Beyond Meat)
2 lemons – one sliced into thin rounds. One quartered for garnish.
1/2 cup Parsley – chopped
2-3 TBS Vegan (or real – if you ain’t vegan) butter
3 garlic cloves – minced
1 cup dry white wine (or cooking wine) OR 1 TBS Dijon mixed into a cup of water
Capers (I used 1/2 of a 4 oz jar – but I LOVE capers!)
Vegetable bouillon (I used 1/2 of one of the large ones seen below – enough for 1 cup stock – and I am not certain they are vegan)
Toss the faux chicken in enough flour to lightly coat the pieces. Add some S&P & toss.
In a large saute pan, heat about 1 TBS olive oil & 1 TBS of whatever kind of butter you are using over med-high heat. Add the fake chicken. I pressed the chicken flat in the pan.
My chicken cooked up nicely but I did have to add another TBS or so of olive oil to keep the pan from becoming too dry. When the chicken (and this would even apply to real chicken) is heated through & browned, take it from the pan & set aside.
At this point, I added about another TBS of butter & a dollop of olive oil & the bouillon. Be very careful NOT to burn your butter. Once the bouillon dissolved, I added the garlic. After 30 seconds – THIRTY SECONDS because garlic burns fast – I added the wine. I increased the heat to high & added HALF the lemon rounds and the capers. I saved the other half of the rounds to put under the piccata when I served it.
This came to a boil pretty fast & I let it do its thing there for a minute or two until it thickened just a bit. If yours doesn’t thicken quickly, a few PINCHES of flour whisked in should help. Add the chicken & a few pinches of chopped parsley & heat it all through.
Once it seems hot – serve that shit up! Plate it over a few fresh lemon rounds & garnish it with LOTS of parsley & maybe more capers & a lemon wedge. This goes really will over pasta noodles or mashed potatoes. I used mashed cauliflower & I was VERY pleased with myself! I nice white wine & a veggie side & you are good to go! Go & buy my BOOK, that is! 🙂