As executive chef and COO of 1771 Group of Restaurants, chef Vicky Rose Pacheco oversees the menu and the operations of several popular restaurants in Metro Manila.
The restaurants are varied in their appeal. Sentro serves Filipino food with a modern touch. Its sinigang, for instance, is made with corned beef short plate and boneless beef shanks, cooked in tamarind broth and served with native vegetables.
The crispy pata is brought to the table already deboned, while the lumpia, instead of being wrapped like a roll, comes with a Vietnamese crepe.
Then there’s Chateau 1771, which started out as a small bistro in Malate and now has branches in several places in Metro Manila. In contrast to Sentro, Chateau serves French and continental cuisine. Entrecôte, French duck, onion soup and crème brûlée are just some of its popular dishes.
A few months ago, the group opened a new restaurant in Bonifacio Global City called Flatiron. Specializing in contemporary comfort food, Flatiron prepares many of its dishes on a flat iron griddle, just like some restaurants in New York do theirs.
A signature dish is brisket 6, beef brisket that’s cooked for six hours then seared on a griddle. Burgers, pasta, pizza and steaks are also on the menu.
Recently, chef Vicky demonstrated how to prepare some of Flatiron’s dishes at the Maya Kitchen Culinary Center. Among them: chicken piccata with a side of creamy spaghettini. Cooked in butter, with a swirl of lemon juice, the chicken was crisp and flavorful—and can be easily duplicated by the home cook.
Here’s chef Vicky’s recipe for chicken piccata.
For the chicken:
1 whole skinless chicken breast fillet
Black pepper, ground
½ c Maya all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
1 c Japanese bread crumbs
3 tbsp clarified butter (see tips)
For the lemon butter sauce
¼ c salted butter
½ tsp lemon juice
Black pepper, ground
Prepare the chicken breast:
Place the chicken breast on a chopping board lined with plastic wrap. Cover the chicken breast with another piece of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, flatten the chicken breast by pounding it from the middle going outwards.
Remove the plastic sheets and season the flattened chicken with salt and pepper. Sprinkle lemon juice all over it and let marinate overnight or for at least 15 minutes.
Dredge the chicken with flour on both sides. Dip in the beaten egg then coat with the bread crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to cook or freeze quickly for the coating to set.
Prepare the lemon butter sauce:
Melt the butter on low heat. Do not allow to boil. Add the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat, then set the sauce aside.
Cook the chicken:
When ready to cook: Heat the clarified butter in a frying pan. Add the breaded chicken to the pan and pan fry over medium heat until golden brown on both sides or until fully cooked. Make sure the inside of the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the pan.
In the same pan, lower the heat and add the prepared lemon butter sauce. Swirl the pan without boiling the sauce. Do not allow the butter to boil. Return the chicken to the pan and coat it with the sauce. Transfer to a serving plate and pour the sauce on top of the chicken.
You can serve this with pasta or with rice. Makes two to three servings.
This recipe needs advanced preparation so plan ahead.
Use clarified butter for cooking the chicken (regular butter burns easily over high heat).
To make clarified butter: Cut one cup regular butter into equal sized large cubes. Put the cubes in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Melt the butter over low heat until white foam rises to the surface. Skim off the foam. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the clarified butter over a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof container. Use the clarified butter for cooking the chicken piccata. Store any leftover clarified butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within three days.
Chill the coated chicken breast about 10 minutes before cooking so the coating adheres better to the chicken and the chicken becomes crisp.
To test if the chicken is fully cooked, press it with the back of a spoon. If it’s firm, then the chicken is fully cooked.