Frankly, a dish that the Italians consider "piquant" is generally mild stuff by the measure of Mexico, Szechwan, Thailand, etc., but no matter -- this rendition, borrowed more-or-less intact from Nika Hazelton's "Regional Italian Kitchen," is flavorful if not spicy-hot, and relatively easy to throw together on a busy work-day afternoon.

I modified it a bit, naturally, substituting lime juice for vinegar to make it a bit more wine-friendly, adding a dash of dried red pepper to make it a little more, well, "piccante," and fiddling with it a little bit here, a little bit there, all however in the spirit of Hazelton's original.

Remove skin and visible fat from 4 chicken breasts, and sautee them in a heavy skillet in 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil until they're starting to brown. Remove the chicken to a plate, and pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat.

In the fat, sautee three or four thin-sliced garlic cloves until they're golden, then add about six or eight chopped canned anchovies, stir once or twice, and add 1/4 cup lime juice (or white vinegar, if you prefer the original version), stirring over high heat until it's almost entirely reduced. Add 1 cup dry white wine and 1 tablespoon capers. Check for seasoning; it may not need salt, with all the anchovies and capers in it. Bring to the simmer and put the browned chicken breasts back in, turning them once or twice. Cover tightly and cook in a 350F oven for about 25 or 30 minutes or until the chicken breasts are done but not stringy. About 10 minutes before serving, stir in a mix of chopped fresh rosemary, basil and flatleaf parsley as available.

This would probably go best with a rich white wine, but we were both in the mood for a red, so went with the '94 Rabbit Ridge Allure; it turned out to be a good choice -- fruity, light and not too tannic, it didn't overwhelm the "white" chicken dish as a gutsier red might have done. A good rich pilsner-style lager would also fill the bill.