Sometimes ideas just appear out of thin air. This week’s sandwich is an example of that. I have no idea where the inspiration came from, maybe it just jumped into my brain.
No matter where I got the idea, I’ll be straight with you, I chose to make and write about this sandwich for the following two reasons.
- First, I like the fact that the sandwich’s name rhymes.
- Second, I really like the taste of chicken piccata.
Chicken piccata ciabatta is also exciting to say out loud. Try it.
I started writing this blog post when I made this sandwich a year or more ago and have made it three times since. But because it wasn’t fresh in my brain for the writing process, I made chicken piccata again last week for my wife and turned one portion into this chicken piccata sandwich with broccoli slaw on freshly baked ciabatta.
What is chicken piccata?
According to Google Translate, the word piccata in Italian translates to cut but Wikipedia explains that piccata is a little more complicated than that. We can learn from Wikipedia that piccata is more likely to refer to the pounding process that is used to flatten the chicken or veal in piccata recipes.
Traditional piccata—which on a restaurant menu could be chicken or veal—is a tender piece of flatly pounded meat that is sauteed and served with a savory, tart, and tangy sauce of lemon, meat stock, butter, and capers.
Chicken piccata is an Italian dish that is often served on top of long strands of pasta with sauce poured on top. I recently made this recipe in that fashion and I’m here to let you know that my recipe below is great over pasta and pretty dang good in a sandwich form as well.
Let’s make some chicken piccata and turn it into sandwiches! First, as I write every week, we need to get that bread.
Ciabatta sandwich rolls
Ciabatta is one of my favorite bread rolls to bake. This recipe has an overnight step in the dough-making process, but as I’ve said before, you can often skip that step if sandwich time is of the essence. The overnight rise time will add extra flavor and depth to the roll, but if you leave it out, that’s all you will lose in the process if you leave it out, you simply must add the amount of flour and water from the overnight rise to the full dough when you are mixing it together and kneading it.
Ciabatta is a flavorful roll that can easily be turned into a sandwich, and they are formed in a different way from most other sandwich rolls that I have written about. Instead of shaping these ciabatta rolls, you cut them from a rolled-out, flattened rectangle of dough.
In my recipe, I do share some simple graphics showing the measurements that I use for large ciabatta rolls and small ciabatta rolls. You shape the dough into a rough rectangle and then cut based on measurements and end up with rectangle-ish shapes that will rise, but still stay sort of flattened, compared to a round hamburger bun.
I usually only make my smaller-sized ciabatta rolls because I don’t really eat huge sandwiches. The larger rolls will be more in line for a couple of pieces of chicken instead of just one.
Here’s the ciabatta recipe for you to try. The smaller-sized rolls work very well with one-half of a butterflied and pounded chicken breast.
This is a slaw made from broccoli pieces, sliced red cabbage, and a tangy and slightly sweet dressing. You could eat this as a side dish if you wanted, but it works great in this sandwich as a crunchy and tart accompaniment to the tender chicken in this recipe.
When I was a kid, I only wanted to eat the “leaves” of the broccoli because the stems were terrible. But in this recipe, we slice the “stems” into matchstick-sized pieces which makes them crunchy, but not “trunky” which in my experience is a textural advantage.
This slaw brings crunch that will be appreciated next to a tender piece of piccata’ed chicken. This is also just a tasty slaw that you could make into a double or quadruple-size portion to serve as a side dish at your next cookout if you want to serve something different.
To make chicken piccata we need some small pieces of chicken breast that are pounded thin. To achieve this, I like to take a normal-sized chicken breast and split it into two smaller pieces. Then we pound each smaller piece into a thin piece of chicken that will cook quickly.
The act of cutting a chicken breast into two thinner, smaller pieces is typically called butterflying.
Butterflying the chicken breast
I have added the word “butterflying” to a lot of my recipes since I started this blog, but I have never really had a great example of how it is accomplished. I usually just link to other online resources that explain it fairly clearly.
If you’re comfortable with a knife and take your time, it’s a fairly easy process. You simply want to split a chicken breast down the middle parallel to your cutting board. For this recipe, you can cut all the way through, but I still like to cut it 85% of the way through and open the chicken breast like a book
The piccata sauce
The sauce created when making chicken piccata is a great complement to the chicken. The dish produces a tender, thin cutlet of chicken breast that is tangy from the lemon juice, salty, briny, and tart from the capers and white wine, and in general super savory and tasty.
The sauce in piccata is built upon what is left over after cooking the chicken, coated in seasoned flour in butter and olive oil. You add wine and broth to the pan and scrape up the leftover brown bits in the pan which is typically called “fond” into the sauce. This fond helps to build more flavor into the sauce.
This chicken piccata ciabatta sandwich is just a great combination of flavors and textures that leads to a fantastic sandwich experience.
All three components work well together in this sandwich. There’s a bit of chew from the ciabatta, the chicken is flavorful and tender, and the slaw packs a crunchy textural punch.
The chicken piccata ciabatta recipe
Here’s the full recipe for this piccata ciabatta sandwich.
If you love chicken piccata, you'll dig this tasty sandwich. The broccoli slaw brings a big crunch to a tender piece of savory, tart, and tangy chicken.
- 1 cup julienned broccoli stems
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1⁄2 cup sliced red cabbage
- 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast butterflied
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup chicken stock
- 1⁄4 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons brined capers
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)
- 2 ciabatta sandwich rolls
- chicken piccata and sauce (from above)
- broccoli slaw (from above)
Broccoli slaw: Chop off around 1 cup of broccoli florets (the leaf parts) and cut them into smaller pieces. Slice a few stalks of broccoli into planks and then slice those planks into matchstick-sized pieces. Add a cup of florets and stalk matchsticks into a bowl and add a half cup of sliced red cabbage.
Add the rest of your broccoli slaw ingredients and stir to combine well. Place this bowl in your refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a week.
Chicken piccata: butterfly and pound 1 chicken breast into two flat, thin pieces.
Add all-purpose flour, salt, and ground black pepper to a plate and mix to combine. Coat both pieces of chicken fully with the flour mixture.
Place butter and olive oil into a medium pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted a bubbling, add the chicken pieces and cook on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes. After the chicken has cooked on the first side, flip the pieces over and cook an additional 3 minutes. After that time has elapsed, remove the chicken to a plate to rest while you finish the sauce.
Add white wine and chicken stock to the pan, stir everything together in the pan, and scrape up any bits on the bottom from cooking the chicken. Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes or so to reduce and thicken.
Once the liquid has reduced and thickened a little add the capers, stir, and cook for another 5 minutes. When that time has elapsed, the sauce should have reduced a little more, add the chicken and any accumulated juices back into the pan to cook for another 2 minutes.
After 2 minutes, remove the pan from heat and add lemon juice to complete the sauce.
Sandwich assembly: Slice the ciabatta rolls and add a spoonful of piccata sauce to the bottom piece of the roll.
Add a couple of spoons of broccoli slaw and top that with a piece of chicken piccata. Top the chicken with a little more sauce and close the sandwich.
Serve and enjoy.
Check back next week when we travel to Detroit!
We’re going to put the pep in pepperoni! Or maybe we’ll put the B in BLT?
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