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Dinner Tonight: Piquant Chicken

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

Some people like briny, piquant flavors like olives and capers, and some don't. Maybe it's an acquired taste. But all I know is that you can't go on just liking them for long: "like" eventually becomes "love." There's something addictive about the punch of a caper, much the way people become obsessed with the initially bitter and off-putting taste of coffee. Flavors that are difficult to love tend to instill great passion.

Pasta alla Puttanesca, a simple tomato sauce studded with olives, capers, anchovies and red pepper flakes, is a prized dish for these reasons. So I was particularly excited to discover this recipe for Pollo Piccante from Cucina Rustica, by superb Italian cookbook authors Viana La Place and Evan Kleiman. It has has all the same "deep, seductive flavors" and hits all the notes of a good puttanesca in a meatier form. It's a superb way to quickly and dramatically prepare chicken.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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