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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Is all the alcohol cooked out of the chicken piccata sauce?

I've had chicken piccata in restaurants, but didn't realize the sauce was wine based. I'd like to try your recipe for Chicken Piccata [here's Gluten-free Chicken Piccata], but since I abstain from alcohol I'm concerned about the wine content. Is all the alcohol cooked out of the sauce or is there an alternative to using wine?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Chicken Piccata - click for recipe

Usually Picatta recipes use wine or an alcohol. Not all do. With the cooking process the alcohol is evaporated for the most part.

In a tablespoon of wine there's not a lot of alcohol to start with. There's about 2 cc of alcohol (240 cc in a cup / 16 Tablespoons / 14% alcohol). That's less than a half teaspoon. And the alcohol is pretty volatile and evaporates faster than the water. So you could be getting as much as 1/4 teaspoon in this serving of Chicken Picatta.

If this still concerns you, there are some pretty good non-alcoholic wines on the market; some made by better California vineyards. One brand that is on a lot of store shelves is Fré and is used by many chefs when they want to avoid using alcohol for catering and such.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet