Episode 2 'Sage Advice & Bitter Lessons'

Chicken Piccata


4 to 6 tomatoes, diced (I prefer roma, but you can use any kind really. As long as they’re fresh. Even cherry tomatoes can work)

2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced

15 to 20 basil leaves, torn (basil can be hand torn, or you can make a ‘chiffonade’ which simply means you are thinly slicing the leaves into ribbons for a more upscale look. It sounds a lot harder than it is, trust me. We chefs often use fancy French terms for very basic concepts)

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1 french baguette, sliced thinly (the bread can be on the stale side)

grated or shaved parmesan cheese for garnish

  1. Combine the diced tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper in a bowl and mix well. Adjust ingredients to taste.
  2. Brush the sliced baguette with olive oil and toss the on a hot grill. Only grill the bread for 30 seconds per side until the bread is toasted and browned. Alternatively, you can use a dry pan over high heat or even a broiler to toast the bread. No matter what you do, the bread will toast quickly. While some blackening is good, don’t over burn the bread or you might overpower the flavors.
  3. Top the toasted bread with the tomato mixture. Top with parmesan and serve.



Sage Brown Butter Sauce

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1 small bunch of sage

1 package of your favorite filled pasta

  1. Cook your filled pasta according to the directions on the package. (In case your package has no instructions, boil water, add filled pasta, and cook until they rise to the top of the water and are nice and tender)
  2. Coarsely chop the sage. (You want large chunks or even smaller whole leaves as the sage will crisp up nicely for a great texture.)
  3. In a sauce pan or deep pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Swirl the butter in the pan constantly. After the butter has just melted add the sage. Continue to a swirl the butter.
  4. Now here is the trick: keep your nose open. The milk solids in the butter will begin to brown after a minute or two and release a nutty aroma.  Once you start to smell this and the butter is a light golden brown, remove the butter and pour it over the cooked pasta.

Chicken Piccata

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat to a ½” thickness (this step can be skipped for ease by buying “thinly sliced” chicken breasts or chicken breast “cutlets” commonly sold in stores)

salt & pepper

flour for dredging

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup dry white wine

juice of ½ lemon (about ½ Tbsp)

½ lemon, sliced

1 Tablespoon capers, drained

4 oz. (about 1 cup dry) farfalle (bowtie) or other favorite pasta

  1. Season the pounded chicken breasts (or cutlets) with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat the breasts well with flour.
  2. Boil the water for the pasta and cook as directed by the package.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium heat until shimmering.  Add the floured chicken breasts and cook, uncovered 3 to 6 minutes per side, until the breasts are golden brown.  When done, remove the chicken breasts from the pan and transfer to a plate.
  4. Add wine to the pan and bring to a simmer. (Be careful, this may cause some minor sizzling.) Add the lemon juice and capers. Adjust the amount of lemon juice to taste. Do not overcook, as the lemon juice will become bitter if over-cooked.
  5. Return chicken to the pan and top with lemon slices. Cover the pan, and reheat the chicken, no longer than two minutes. Serve immediately over the pasta, passing extra pan sauce as needed.