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Piccata Sauce for Grilled Veal, Chicken, or Pork

This is a simple Tuesday night sauce that produces Sunday night food. Originally from Italy and served on veal, it is well suited for chicken and pork chops. The classic piccata is a pan sauce made by searing the meat in a skillet, deglazing the brown bits that stick to the bottom of the pan with wine, but the recipe is a snap to make on the grill. And for all the traditionalists chefs out there, I know my sauce is a bit heavier and richer than the textbook version, but I think it is needed to stand up to the big bold flavors of the grill.

Piccata Sauce Recipe

Makes. 2 servings

Takes. 20 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to cook

Ingredients

1 pound grilled chicken, pork, or veal

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon all purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup medium dry sherry wine (see note below)

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about the juice of 1 small lemon)

2 tablespoons brined capers, drained

About the sherry. My recipe calls for sherry, a "fortified" wine that has had brandy added. An amontillado sherry, or oloroso sherry will work fine. Madeira, another fortified wine is also good, and bual Madiera is actually my fave. Fino sherry, sercial Madeira,and verdelho Madeira are dry and will work with 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.

About the dry white wine. I always have a jug of cheap dry white like Mondavi Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc or Yellow Tail Chardonnay around for guzzling and cooking. Occasionally I pick up old, oxidized whites in the closeout bin just for this kind of sauce. The aren't good drinking, but make fine cooking wines.

About the lemon juice. Be precise when measuring the lemon juice. A bit too much and it will make the veins in your neck pop out. Get a fresh lemon if you can.

Optional garnish. When you're done you can garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a thin slice of lemon.

Serve with. Make a little extra sauce and serve with a grain that will sop up the extra sauce and a simple veggie. Try brown rice, couscous, barley, or bulgur wheat with grilled asparagus or squash. A big dry white, like a California Chardonnay.

Method

1) While the meat is grilling, you can make the sauce on a burner indoors or out. In a small sauce pan melt the butter on low, then whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, over medium until all the flour is dissolved and starts to turn tan. Wait til it turns color, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and crank it to high. Cook the sauce, whisking every 2 minutes or so until it is slightly thick, but not syrupy thick.

2) Just before the meat is done, add the capers to the sauce. Don't add them too early or they will disintegrate. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water. Spoon a pool of the sauce on each dinner plate, then remove the meat from the grill and lay it on top of the sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and a lemon slice. If there's extra sauce, put it on the rice.

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