I remember the first time I ate Chicken Piccata. I am Italian, but my parents never made Chicken Piccata at home when I was growing up. I was at a conference in Charleston, SC back in the 90’s. I remember sitting quietly on the patio and savoring every bite. I am pretty good at dissecting a recipe. I could tell the tender chicken breast had been dredged in flour and browned. The sauce was made up of butter, lemon juice, capers, a chicken stock and white wine. The chicken was beautifully balanced with a luscious, tangy lemon butter pan sauce. If that isn’t enough, you get that little bit of saltiness from the capers. So delicious!!!
Chicken Piccata is a quick and easy meal and it is a dish that people will remember. This dish can also be made with veal or meatless. The sauce on it’s own can be used over rice or with any pasta, although it would be missing the pan drippings from the chicken.
To make Chicken Piccata you will need to butterfly two boneless, skinless chicken breasts first. Then flatten each chicken breast (now 4 pieces) with a meat pounder between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. Once flattened, you dredge each paillard (definition below) in flour and brown in butter/olive oil. To the pan drippings, you add lemon juice, chicken stock, white wine, rinsed and drained capers and chopped parsley. Let the sauce reduce and then add in some butter to finish the sauce.
Serve my Chicken Piccata with a side of rice and some roasted asparagus.
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Paillard – A French term for a boneless piece of meat that has been butterflied and pounded thin, thus tenderizing the meat. This also allows the meat to cook faster without losing moisture. [Chef Thomas Keller]
Chicken in a luscious, tangy lemon butter pan sauce.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and paillard
- Freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder and a pinch of Kosher salt
- Flour for dredging
- 2 lemons, juice only
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 3.5 oz non-pareil capers, rinsed and drained
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
NOTE: Use the juice of fresh lemons for this. The sauce will not taste as good with bottled lemon juice. I have tried it in the past and the sauce lost that fresh flavor.
- Step 1 Butterfly each chicken breast.
- Step 2 Flatten (paillard) each chicken breast with a meat pounder between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper.
- Step 3 Dredge each paillard in flour and shake off.
- Step 4 In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Lightly brown the first two floured paillard in butter and olive oil, 2-3 minutes per side.
- Step 5 Season with freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder and a pinch of salt. The wine and capers will provide additional salt, so use sparingly at this step.
- Step 6 Once browned, remove the chicken breasts from the pan and transfer to a plate.
- Step 7 Repeat until all of the paillards have been browned. You will probably need to add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoons olive oil after you have browned the first two.
- Step 8 If you have any dark brown flour in the pan, remove it and wash the pan. It’s better to have a clean flavor with the sauce then trying to save the fond. You will get the chicken flavor back once you return the chicken to the pan.
- Step 9 Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, white wine, and the rinsed and drained capers to the pan. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Step 10 Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter and whisk. Simmer for an additional minute.
- Step 11 Return the chicken to the sauce and simmer on a low heat for 4-5 minutes turning the chicken breast once to ensure they are evenly cooked. The sauce will have thicken slightly. Add the chopped parsley.
- Step 12 Serve with rice or a side of pasta.