This dish was inspired by picatta, an Italian word that describes a particular manner of cooking. The most commonly prepared picatta dish in this country is made with chicken or fish that has been sliced across its width and sautéed in butter with Italian spices and parsley. Paneer, an Indian cheese, is a very versatile ingredient, and its capacity to absorb the flavors in which it marinates makes it one of my favorite main course recipes for vegetarians. The ginger and chili peppers give this dish the boost that an Indian dish requires. The use of fresh coriander (cilantro) instead of parsley also adds to the uniqueness of this picatta-style dish. Enjoy it with a simple pasta or either a portion of Mint Pilaf with Potatoes and Cumin or Basmati Rice with Dry-Roasted Spices.
– 8 oz (250 g) paneer cheese, cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) thick square pieces
– Salt, to taste; Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
– 1 tablespoon oil; ¼ cup (65 ml) sherry or dry white wine
– 1 small onion, minced; ¼ cup (45 g) drained capers
– 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
– 2 fresh green chili peppers, deseeded and minced
– Juice of 1 lemon; 2 tablespoons butter
– 4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro).
Season the paneer lightly with salt and black pepper.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and quickly sear the paneer cheese pieces until golden, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a serving dish, cover and keep warm.
Add the sherry or wine to deglaze the pan, and scrape the browned bits o the bottom of the pan.
Add the onion, capers, ginger and green chili peppers, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, butter and fresh coriander, and then drizzle the mixture over the paneer pieces. Serve hot.
Food: Paneer Picatta