There comes a point at every Passover when I begin to grow tired of the traditional dishes, the gefilte fish starts looking revolting, and no matter which way you slice it, all I really want is a bagel, or a bowl of pasta, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; simple and gratifying,. They are all humble foods, honest and filling, and I miss them terribly. The eight days begin to seem interminable. What can I say – I like my leavened starches!
But truth be told, I doubt I would miss any of those things, if I could take the entire week off and just focus on Passover cooking, if I didn’t have to balance it with a 12-hour workday. I could get creative and just spend my days creating holiday appropriate dishes. I have always wanted to host a Mediterranean seder, serving some Italian and Greek-inspired dishes. Maybe a roasted rack of lamb, or a branzini.
Oh, but there’s also my version of chicken piccata. I’ve deviated a bit from the traditional way of making it in that I roast my chicken with all the ingredients. Perhaps that’s an insult to the traditional method of preparation, but I like my way better. Sautéed chicken always leaves me a bit lackluster, but roast chicken – now that’s a whole different story altogether.
I also find that on a night when you come home from work, tired and hungry and with a laundry-list of to-do items around the apartment, this version is fantastically easy to put together and not worry about until it’s time to pull the chicken out. With the exception of a singular trip to the oven to turn the chicken breasts over, you are free to buzz about your home, tidying up, paying bills, folding laundry, or simply kicking back on the couch with a glass of wine, watching Seinfeld reruns. The latter happens to be my preference, but somehow errands get in the way.
By omitting butter from the recipe here, you magically transform this every-day dish into kosher-for-Passover dish. I should do a bit more research, but I believe capers are permitted to use during the holiday. Everything else in the recipe, lemon, wine, garlic, olive oil, salt, are permitted for Passover use.
So there you have it, an easy-peasy Passover recipe that isn’t gefilte fish. How fabulous is that? And I dare say that most of these ingredients should already be in your pantry, save perhaps the capers, but those are easy enough to locate. And maybe adding another dish into your Passover repertoire will make the week go by a bit faster. And before you know it, you’ll be enjoying that bagel or that bowl of pasta all over again!
Adapted from Gourmet, October 1991
a 3/4-pound whole skinless boneless chicken breast, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon drained bottled capers, chopped
3 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Halve the chicken pieces horizontally with a sharp knife and flatten them slightly between sheets of plastic wrap. Marinade overnight with oil, lemon juice, wine and garlic. In a glass baking dish put the marinated chicken skin side down and add the capers. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Bake in the oven at 350-375 for about 45 minutes removing the chicken once to turn it skin side up. Chicken will be done when pierced with knife and juices run clear. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle some chopped parsley before serving.