Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chicken Scarpariello, My Way

A few weeks ago, Paul and I decided to try a local Italian restaurant for dinner.  When I saw chicken scarpariello on the menu, I immediately thought of the first time I ever had the dish.  It was at Carmine's in New York's theater district.  I remember it being aromatic and tart with lemon.  I had it again at one of my favorite Italian Restaurants, King Umbertos.  It was quite different from Carmine's version, but still delicious.  Umberto's recipe was less lemony, but had the addition of pepperoncini, mushrooms, and a lot of wonderful sauce.  I can't remember where I had my third scarpariello experience.  All I recall was a boneless version, with hot cherry peppers and a dark sauce, very different from the other two.  It was then that I came to the conclusion that every chef has their own interpretation.  That brings me to my most recent dinner at my neighborhood restaurant.  Although our calamari was outstanding, Paul's penne a la vodka was excellent, my chicken scarpariello was....BORING!  It was then that I decided I needed to make this dish myself; and am I glad I did!

King Umberto's share several of the chef Pietro's recipes on their website.  This version is an adaptation of their dish, combined with elements of Carmine's and the other, sorry I forgot where I ate you, version.
Chicken Scarpariello
For Marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary 
  • 5 fresh sage leaves torn into pieces
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breast 
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 ripe peeled, seeded drained and chopped tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 12 pepperoncini
  • 2 red peppers, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine marinade ingredients.
Trim chicken, place in ziplock bag, then pour marinade over chicken.  Seal bag and squish it around to distribute herbs and marinade.  Place bag in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
Remove chicken from bag and dry, wiping off as many of the fresh herbs as possible.  (You don't want them to burn when cook the chicken)  Dredge the chicken in flour, shake off the excess.  Heat oil in a large saute pan.  Add the chicken to the pan, do not crowd, cook in 2 or three batches.
Cook for about 3 minutes on each side until lightly golden.  Remove from pan and cook the rest of the chicken.

Drain the oil, return pan to medium-high heat, add the butter, garlic mushrooms, red peppers, pepperoncini and chopped tomatoes.
Saute for 4 minutes, then add lemon, white wine, chicken broth, rosemary, salt and pepper.
After 5 minutes, add the chicken to the pan, and continue to cook until the chicken is done and the sauce is reduced.  Correct the seasoning. Cut chicken into thick slices.
Transfer the chicken to a serving plate, pour sauce on top and serve.  This dish goes well with roasted rosemary potatoes or a fluffy orzo.

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