Chicken Scaloppine With Sugar Snap Peas, Asparagus and Lemon Zest

Chef Ulrich shares with us some secrets to cooking chicken to perfection! This week’s recipe is a great example of chicken’s versatility. It can be roasted, broiled, grilled or poached and combined with a wide rage of herbs and spices. It’s no wonder chicken is the world’s primary source of animal protein and a healthy alternative to red meat.

The leanest part of the chicken is the chicken breast, which has less than half the fat of a trimmed Choice grade T-bone steak. However, eating the chicken with the skin doubles the amount of fat and saturated fat in the food. For this reason-chicken is best skinned before cooking.

Health Benefits of Sugar Snap Peas:

  • Sugar snap peas are a natural when it comes to heart health.  Not only are they fat-free, but a whole cup has four grams of heart-healthy fiber to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Good source of folate – a vitamin that’s important for heart health.
  • Sugar snap peas are so low in calories you can munch on them without a second’s guilt. A single cup of these green beauties has only sixty-seven calories and the fiber makes them quite filling and satisfying.
  • Did you know that a cup of sugar-snap peas has almost as much vitamin C has a medium-sized orange? Vitamin C is important for keeping the immune system primed to fight off infection. It also keeps skin and joints in great shape.
  • Peas contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene which may help to protect against certain types of cancer. Vitamin C and the carotenoids found in sugar snap peas are a powerful antioxidant combination.
  • Excellent source of vitamin K to maintain strong bones and ensure that the blood clots properly when the body is injured. It’s also a good source of iron to build healthy, red blood cells.

How Asparagus Keeps Us Healthy:

  • As a detox – asparagus has 288 milligrams of potassium per cup. Potassium is known for reducing belly fat (see belly fat link below). It also contains 3 grams of fiber which cleanses the digestive system. It has virtually no natural sodium so no bloating during PMS, has no fat or cholesterol, and one cup has only 40 calories. According to a clinical dietician at UCLA Medical Center, asparagus in the ultimate in detox vegetables.
  • For anti-aging purposes – asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, and folate. It is also very high in glutathione – an amino acid compound with protent antioxidant properties; a must as an anti-aging deterrent. Glutathione (GSH) is an antioxidant that protects cells from toxins such as free radicals.
  • Against cancer – asparagus in high in folate which is now known to be an important protection against cancer. Note: Folate is found naturally in leafy green vegetables, and citrus fruits. While folic acid is said to be the same as folate, folic acid is the supplemental form. It is always recommeded that you get health benefits from eating healthy whole foods.
  • Reducing pain and inflammation – it is the folate that helps reduce inflammation.
  • Preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis – asparagus has vitamin K which studies have shown can help prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Vitamin K aids in bone formation and repair. It is also necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is the protein in bone tissue on which calcium crystallizes. Asparagus has been listed as the number one source of vitamin K.
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease – it is the folate that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Preventing birth defects – getting enough folate (doctors often recommend the folic acid supplement) is especially important for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Having a folate deficiency has been correlated with increased risk of Spina Bifida (a spinal cord birth defect) and also anencephaly (a neural tube defect). Folate helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation and may also help to prevent premature births.
  • Additionally, studies have shown that the nutritional benefits of asparagus can help prevent and treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Overall, asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, folate, glutathione, and vitamin K. It is high in fiber, has no sodium, is low in calories and has no cholesterol or fat.
  • Note:  You may notice some asparagus spears are thick and some are thin. The thick ones are best for roasting or steaming. I find steaming the best and also very quick. The thin spears are ideal for the grill or if you are planning to sautee.
  • For optimum health benefits it is suggested that asparagus be eaten raw.
  • Before eating, the woody stem should be removed from both the thick spears and the thin. Peel only the thick spears before cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 6  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup  chicken broth
  • 1/3  cup  dry white wine
  • 3  cups  julienne-cut trimmed sugar snap peas (about 1 pound)
  • 2  cups  (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon  butter
  • 1 tablespoon  chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon  grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

  • Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap.
  • Using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet, pound to 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Season chicken evenly with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.Add a little olive oil.
  • Add 2 breast halves to pan; sauté until done, plus minus 3 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and keep warm.
  • Repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Add broth and wine to pan and turn up the heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  • Add the vegetables, mint, zest and juice.
  • Cook until the liquid is reduced by half and the vegetables are cooked but still firm.
  • Remove from heat; stir in butter.
  • Plate the chicken onto a large serving platter or individual plates and garnish with sauce and vegetables.

Makes 6 servings.

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