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Low Calorie Grilled Chicken Piccata

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A favorite of many is a piccata dish, both the chicken and veal versions. The problem is, they are loaded with calories and many of those calories are hidden fat calories.

Generally, one dredges the chicken in flour, sauteés it in plenty of olive oil, then it’s transferred to the piccata sauce, which consists of a number of tablespoons of butter and a number of tablespoons of olive oil plus the chicken stock, such that all the cooking fat and then added fat in the sauce creates a serious calorie bomb that can double the net calories of a serving.

There’s a better way, without compromising that wonderful sour and salty flavor. And, for the grain- or gluten-free folks, it’s your ticket too, because there’s no dredging in flour (which really, principally serves to thicken the piccata sauce).

First, you’ll need chicken, and I’ve filleted mine and did a little pounding with the mallet so they’re about even thickness.

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About 2 lbs here

Then, I grilled them. This, you can do ahead of time and just keep them warm while you finish off the sauce. And, perhaps make a side dish. I chose roasted asparagus.

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Preheat oven to 400. Lightly drizzle a bit of olive oil, season with S&P, toss it, spread on a cookie sheet, and once the oven is a go, roast for 20 minutes (longer for the thick asparagus, but i never get those).

To make the sauce for a couple of pounds of grilled chicken breast, crush 2-3 cloves of garlic, and I like about the same amount of finely chopped onion. Sauteeé that in a tsp of olive oil for a couple of minutes. Then, add a quart of Kitchen Basics UnSalted Chicken Stock and reduce by about half. Save about a half cup of the stock and stir in a heaping teaspoon of Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch. Make sure it’s stirred into a nice colloidal-suspension slurry and dump it into your simmering, reduced stock quickly, and stir, to avoid any gelatinous lumps. It should thicken right up (works the same way as cornstarch). Per serving the carbs are negligible, about 2 grams.

Add your grilled chicken and the juice from resting, then add the juice from half of a large lemon, or a whole small one. Next, your capers, with brine. About two heaping tablespoons should do it.

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Bring it back to a simmer, put it on your smallest burner on low and cover while you finish the rest of your preparations in terms of the side dish and plating.

Because I’m in a rather intensive calorically controlled, logging and tracking thing right now, I weighed mine, without the sauce, and plated 13.5 ounces for me.

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Bea’s plate, at a modest 9 ounces—that she finished off save for a few bits to the doggies—is perhaps a more elegant and attractive serving.

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Alright, just as in my last dish, the Chicken Crust Margherita Pizza, it’s all about the protein, baby.

looks like this, for my portions.

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Did I say PROTEIN?

I only log the principle stuff, so the per-serving bit of garlic, onion, lemon juice and capers are negligible. The teaspoon of olive oil is an estimate, counting my portion of the tsp used to sauteé the garlic, plus the drizzle on the asparagus, even though the logged item already incorporates it. I’d rather overestimate than underestimate, so it may actually have a few grams less fat.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

15 Comments

  1. Robert on June 22, 2017 at 00:59

    Once again a great recipe. I’m not a bad cook, but still find it hard to come up with good high protein meals. Especially the sauces are the problem, always based on cream etc.

    Also, I’ve started using the app, “Lose it!”, and I like it. It seems to do everything you need even in the free version. Is there any point in going pro?

    • Richard Nikoley on June 22, 2017 at 08:24

      Not sure. For $30 per year it’s partly just paying back for something I use a lot and get great value from. I’ve forgotten what the differences might be except for Insignts. It gives you lots of correlations.

      “On days you eat soup, you tend to eat fewer calories.” Stuff like that.



  2. Limey on June 23, 2017 at 09:46

    Richard, do you still use your sous vide machine? I reckon this dish would have worked a treat in the SV.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 25, 2017 at 08:29

      No. Not knowing what was in store when I did the deal in Mexico a couple of years ago, I sold it to a happy customer via Craigie.

      I’ll probably get another one, eventually.



  3. james dobrow on June 24, 2017 at 13:38

    Hi Richard:
    Since you were in the business for a while, any thoughts on the Fitzgerald crash?

    • Richard Nikoley on June 24, 2017 at 14:09

      What I posted to Facebook:

      No fucking excuse. None. There is no mystery here. The Underway Officer of the Deck Fucked UP so bad it’s difficult to imagine. I’ve been OOD in and out of Yokosuka on a ship of about the same displacement a hundred times, all times of day, night, and wee hours. In fact, coming in, 4 am is quite common so we’re tied up by morning work day so shipyard workers can get busy.

      The Captain fucked up by having someone so incompetent as OOD. They both need to go down hard, full force, because there is no excuse. None. And all this bullshit in the article about ship to ship is nonsense. Almost never happens and even if you try, you never get a response. With commercial vessels, you instead always assume it’s on auto-pilot, there’s one dude on the bridge, he’s drunk, and asleep.

      This shit is easy to avoid. Surface radar easily has a 30k ton container ship painted 20-30 miles out. One you do a few minutes of scopehead plotting with the grease pencil, you can see how close you’ll come to each other if both vessels maintain course and speed. If inside of 10,000 yards (5 nautical miles), all it takes is a 2-5 degree course change right or left to keep him outside that envelope.

      And, every set of Standing Orders on a US Navy ship demands that if for some reason it’s unavoidable to keep another vessel outside of 10k yards, you are to notify the Captain immediately.

      Complete fuck up and now people are dead.



    • Limey on June 24, 2017 at 14:36

      I’d also be interested what you think about the decision to seal off one of the hatches with a rescuer still inside. Surely they would not allow him in if they thought the hatch was going to be sealed?



    • Richard Nikoley on June 24, 2017 at 21:37

      The article I read from today says they still haven’t determined much about that, whether it was an order from whomever was commanding the conflagration or an on-scene call by whomever. If on scene it could have been either not knowing it would seal people in, or knowing and making a tough call because of the hatch location. Depending what deck, where it was located, and how much would / could flood if the opportunity to seal it was missed, there are certainly legitimate scenarios where you just gotta do what you gotta do.

      Everyone on board should understand and accept this. If not, don’t sign up for the Navy.



  4. Limey on June 24, 2017 at 14:15

    “Pat Robertson announced that low-carb diets “violate the principles that God set down.””

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/diet-like-jesus

    • thhq on June 24, 2017 at 14:51

      LOL. This puts the mark of the beast on Jimmy. But not far from John Wesley, who recommended half a pound of meat and three quarters of a pound of carbs as a diet for studious persons. Doesn’t seem like much – maybe 1200 cal/day at the most – but people were smaller then. And obesity was unheard of. Only rich people could afford to get fat.

      https://www.faithandleadership.com/primitive-physick-john-wesley-diet-and-excercise



    • Limey on June 24, 2017 at 16:39

      @thhq I hope Jimmy finds the health advice he needs in the Lord’s scriptures. I would encourage him to read his Bible. Maybe now Jason Fung has gone his own way Jimmy can do a show on dieting the Lord’s way?



    • Robert on June 24, 2017 at 22:49

      Limey, has Jason Fung “broken up with” Jimmy? They had a book and a podcast together.



    • Limey on June 25, 2017 at 00:02

      @Robert. Yes. Last time I checked, the comment section on Carbsane’s blog post from 5th June contains many of Jimmy’s facebook posts about the end of their joint podcast. I can’t find them on Jimmy’s facebook page anymore. It felt a little heated to me.



    • Robert on June 25, 2017 at 09:08

      Thanks Limey. I checked the post, 666 comments, and I didn’t have time to wade through them all, but I trust your word for it 😉

      And good for Jason Fung, he doesn’t have anything against keto, but also he is not against whole food carbs, so they were never a good fit. Fung deals with severely ill diabetics, that’s his thing. And by all accounts with good success.



  5. cremes on August 4, 2017 at 16:17

    Just made this tonight. The flavor of the grilled chicken was a bit unique; I usually bake or sautee the chicken.

    My wife is a citrus freak so it needed more lemon. I might add some zest next time too to intensify the flavor.

    Good one, Richard.

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