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Cool Recipe Alert: Is this chicken French or Italian?

Cool Recipe Alert: Is this chicken French or Italian?

Photo: Thinkstock

If it’s a French dish, why is it spelled Chicken Francese instead of Chicken Française? And also, why does the recipe look like a carbon copy of Chicken Piccata, just minus the capers?

It turns out Chicken Francese (adding to the confusion, it’s sometimes spelled Chicken Française) is a French-inspired dish created by Italian Americans. Legend has it that when Italian-American cooks got tired of their traditional method of frying cutlets, they added a step (an egg wash), which they considered to be a very French method. Now, the dish is a regular on Italian-American restaurant menus, and certainly not at French bistros.

At Marlboro College in Vermont, Benjamin Newcomb, Metz Culinary Management general manager, makes this dish without dairy or gluten. “Don’t be fooled,” he says. “This has tremendous flavor and you don’t miss a thing.”

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chicken Francese

YIELD: 3 servings
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons (1 to zest and juice, 1 sliced)
cornstarch for dredging
salt and pepper, to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded ¼”
2 eggs plus 2 Tbsps. water, whisked
2 garlic cloves, sliced
½ cup white wine
½ cup chicken stock
6 Tbsps. parsley, rough chop
3 Tbsps. margarine

1.    Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
2.    Add fresh lemon slices and cook until caramelized. Reduce heat if oil splatters. Reserve lemon on paper towel.
3.    Season cornstarch with generous amount of salt and pepper and whisk together. Lightly coat chicken breasts in seasoned starch and then dip in egg wash. Gently place in hot oil and fry for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and fry for another 2 minutes until golden and cooked to 165°F. Remove and keep warm.
4.    Add sliced garlic to pan and cook for about 20 seconds. Deglaze with wine, scraping up brown bits with wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula. Stir in broth, lemon juice. Allow to reduce 1 to 2 minutes.
5.    Add lemon zest, parsley and margarine. Swirl to emulsify and reduce another 2 minutes. Plate chicken with sauce and serve with caramelized lemon atop chicken.

Recipe: Benjamin Newcomb, Marlboro College

Contact Tara Fitzpatrick at [email protected].
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