Chicken Scallopini with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Scaloppine di Pollo al Sugo di Peperoni
To make the scallopini, first remove the chicken tenderloin from each breast, and freeze for later use. Cut the chicken breasts across the grain (widthwise) into three slices. Hold your knife at a 20 - 30 degree angle to the cutting board so that you slice the breasts on the bias, and end up with oval shaped scallopini. You will get approximately three scallopini from each breast. Pound the slices lightly between two pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap to a thickness of ¼ inch.
Sprinkle the chicken scallopini with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and dust them lightly with flour, shaking to remove excess. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan on high, and quickly brown the chicken on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat; place on a platter, and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add onion, garlic, red peppers and ham to the olive oil. Sauté over medium high heat until onion is translucent and garlic starts to brown, 4 - 6 minutes. Add the white wine, and sauté 2 – 3 minutes, deglazing the pan by scraping it gently to loosen all of the browned bits of ingredients. Add the tomato sauce and the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about a third.
While sauce is cooking, mix three tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar with two tablespoons of sugar, and cook in a small saucepan on medium heat until mixture is reduced by half and reaches a thick, syrupy consistency. Add this balsamic vinegar reduction to the tomato sauce just before the tomato sauce is finished. It will add an unusual sweet and sour finish to the sauce.
Return the chicken to the pan, sprinkle with parsley and sauté another 3 – 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately.
While roasted red peppers in a jar or can are perfectly acceptable in cooking, the flavor of a freshly roasted pepper is far superior to the canned variety. If you use canned or jarred peppers, rinse them in cool water and allow them to soak in clean water for a few minutes to remove the tannic flavor.
To roast your own peppers: Place the whole pepper in your broiler, 3 – 4 inches from the heat source. Turn the peppers with tongs as they start to brown and blister. Don’t allow them to turn black, as that will produce a bitter taste in your pepper. Once your peppers are roasted and blistered on all sides, remove them from the heat and place them in a paper bag. Seal the bag, and allow the peppers to cool. Once cooled, the skin will fall easily away from the pepper. Carefully remove the seeds, and prepare your pepper according to your recipe.
Peppers can also be roasted over the flame of a gas stove. This method is a little trickier, as the pepper can burn quite easily. Hold the pepper over the flame with tongs until all sides are brown and blistered. Follow directions above to peel and prepare.