Find out how to make a simple romantic dinner at home for two.
- for picatta:
- 2 chicken breasts (butterflied and batted out thin)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup loose flat parsley (roughly chopped)
- 3 tblsp mini capers and 2 tbsp of the caper juice
- 1/2 cup flour
- drizzle of rapeseed oil
- 1/2 pint of dry white wine
- 4/5 knobs of butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- for the mash:
- 4/5 medium to large potatoes
- splash of milk/cream
- salt and white pepper
- 4 scallions sliced finely on the bias
- for the garnish:
- 1 whole carrot peeled and halved
- 1 (2") piece of courgette cut into quarter
- 1 purple potato parboiled or alternatively use a piece of butternut squash for colour
- 6 florets of broccoli
- For the Mash:
- Boil the potatoes in salted water.
- Drain, add scallions, butter and some cream/milk until you reach your desired consistency.
- Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
- For the Garnish:
- Par boil the broccoli, blanch and set aside for when the chicken is cooked.
- For the carrot cones point your knife to the top of the carror piece and down at an angle towards the base leaving the base alone. Cut straight down at an angle then rotate the carrot and repeat all the way around until you get a cone shape.
- Add to salted water and boil until you can just about put a cocktail stick through it.
- Take your courgette quarter piece and from one corner to the opposite corner in a curving motion cut through it. going right out to the edge in the middle then curving back in to the opposite point at the end. repeat on the opposite side then flatten out the base. Add to the boiling carrot water for the last 20 seconds of cooking. Remove and blanch in cold water.
- Set aside on a metal tray or plate with a little drizzle of butter and season. when plating the chicken put the garnishin a pre heated oven for 1 min to re-heat.
- For the Chicken:
- Add half the lemon juice, a little oil and 1/4 of the parsley to the chicken and rub in and leave to marinate for approx 1-2 hours.
- Heat a heavy based frying pan and add some rapeseed oil or vegetable oil (olive oil is a little too strong).
- Season the chicken all over and pass through the flour to get a even coating all over and add to the pan.
- Turn after 2-3 mins and cook on the opposite side for 2 mins. Now add the remaining lemon juice, capers and their juices and the white wine.
- Turn the heat up high and reduce until you've half the quantity of wine left.
- Now add the knobs of butter one by one and toss the pan back and forth to create a wave and this folds the butter into the sauce and thus thickening it a little and giving it a beautiful rich glaze.
- Now add the remaining parsley and toss one last time.
- To plate, mould out the champ for a little height with a cup or a mould ring. Top with the chicken and spoon over some sauce. Arrange the carrot cones, courgettes and purple potato on the plate in a nice decorative manner and then the broccoli florets (just drop the florets in boiling salted water for 10 seconds to refresh, drain and serve).
- There you have a beautiful restaurant standard chicken dish to cook and present at home for a loved one on Valentines.
Gary's tips: Replace the chicken with Veal Escalopes and repeat everything else the same. Leave the butter out for a lighter option. Replace the mash with baby potatoes, linguini or any other pasta. Purple sprouting broccoli will be in season in the next week or two and they are a beautiful and even more elegant alternative or you can use cauliflower or green beans. Everything bar the chicken can be made a day ahead and re-heated on the night to save you time.