We are all struggling to get used to the new normal as the coronavirus sweeps across the globe. Italy was hit particularly hard, and as of right now (March 16th), the entire country has been shut down after a severe outbreak with massive casualties and deaths. I have several friends in Italy who are in the restaurant or tourist business, and this year will be a tough one for them. I can only hope and pray that this serious condition resolves itself sooner rather than later and that life in Italy can get back to normal. My concern is that folks will be nervous about traveling to Italy, even after this situation is resolved. I personally am hoping to get back to Italy in the fall. Hopefully, by that time, this difficult time will be behind us.
Since we are all asked to stay home, away from other people as much as possible, it is a great time to experiment in the kitchen trying out new recipes. I love a great piccata dish, whether it is seafood, poultry, or even pork-based. This easy chicken piccata can be thrown together in mounts yetis elegant enough to serve to guests. The trick to ensuring that the chicken is tender and moist is to cut the breasts crosswise into thin cutlets, and then use a meat mallet to pound the cutlets to an equal thickness. I find it easiest to cut the breasts partially frozen. These cutlets cook up very quickly, and by the time you brown them on both sides, they are basically cooked through. This dish includes artichokes with the chicken to make it a little more modern, and I prefer fresh or frozen artichokes. I find that canned artichokes have a metallic taste, and marinated jarred artichokes have too many other flavors. Thaw the chokes fully before using, then pat dry with kitchen towels. This dish is excellent served over buttered noodles, orzo, or with mashed potatoes. You could even add in some chopped spinach at the last few minutes to add even more flavor and nutrients.