Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Linguine con pollo di piccata al limone e capperi ... er, linguine with chicken piccata

Earlier in the day, I'd made some seitan chicken cutlets with the idea that, for dinner, we'd have a good Southern meal. Visions of fried chicken danced in my head. But, as the night grew dark and cold, I grew less interested in slogging through the snow to the corner store for vegetable oil and breadcrumbs. What to make? Inspiration comes from odd places, sometimes, thus the Sopranos to the rescue.

On a side note, I should explain: while I love my parents very much, they did something wrong in not being Italian. Because, really, I should be Italian. I don't understand how this German-Irish-English thing (an ethnic mix many might argue dooms me to a life of dubious meals largely concocted of overcooked potatoes and less-than-prime cuts of meat) happened. In truth, I do love sauerkraut, think potatoes are divine and parsnips pretty nifty; maybe someday I'll even try to make a seitan brisket. Maybe. But, in truth, I'd trade away a platter of pierogies with fried onions and sour cream for the perfect lasagna bolognese any day. (And I do make a damn good lasagna bolognese, if I might be so bold.)

So, idly flipping t.v. stations while wondering what exactly I was going to do with all this seitan chicken, I came across the Sopranos. And, as they seem to be doing in a good third of each episode, the actors were eating. I tell my husband that he should be in the mafia. Not because I want diamonds or fur coats or fancy cars - because I want to have dinner several times a week in Italian restaurants with gorgeous food. I've no idea whether this is actually the case, but it sure is on the Sopranos. And even when they're not in a restaurant, there seems to be an endless stream of casseroles, lasagnas, manicottis, and tiramisus all appearing on tables, in kitchens, being handed to grieving families at funerals.

I have eyes, it seems, for food alone.

But now, my mental menu had been switched to Italian. I decided, based mostly upon what was in the cabinet and my now total lack of interest in suiting up in snow pants and boots that seem to weigh ten pounds each, to try a dish that I'd never had in my pre-vegetarian days: chicken piccata.

Putting the linguine on to cook, I sliced the cutlets, floured and pan-fried them before making the sauce. What an easy dish! I think this whole thing took twenty minutes. And it turned out to be rather rich. I see why it makes a regular appearance on the dinner table in the mafia t.v. shows and movies. Now if only I'd had some tiramisu, as well ...

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