Chicken Piccata

In the 50’s and 60’s Chicken Piccata was a popular dish.  Though it has fallen out of favor it is still a favorite of mine.

What’s not to love about chicken breasts in a lemony sauce?

Piccata is a method of preparing food: meat is sliced, coated, sautéed and served in a sauce. The dish originated in Italy using veal (veal piccata).

This dish can be boring and mushy, but when prepared correctly and served right out of the pan, it is delightful.

Chicken Piccata Done Right

For brightly flavored, fresh tasting chicken piccata, use a whopping quarter cup of lemon juice, and don’t use flour to thicken the sauce.
Slice the cutlets in half rather than pounding, don’t coat them at all, skip the wine, and use thin slices of lemon for the freshest flavor.


Serves 4

2 large lemons
4 boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds),
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup tapioca flour
4 tablespoons butter
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons) or
1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons drained small capers
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof plate on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees.

2. Halve one lemon pole to pole. Trim ends from one half and cut crosswise into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick; set aside. Juice remaining half and whole lemon to obtain 1/4 cup juice; reserve.

3. Sprinkle both sides of cutlets generously with salt and pepper. Measure flour into pie tin or shallow baking dish. Working one cutlet at a time, coat with flour, and shake to remove excess.

4. Heat heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes; add 2 tablespoons butter and swirl pan to coat. Lay half of chicken pieces in skillet. Sauté cutlets, without moving them, until lightly browned on first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn cutlets and cook until second side is lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and transfer cutlets to plate in oven. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add remaining chicken pieces and repeat.

5. Add shallot or garlic to now-empty skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds for shallot or 10 seconds for garlic. Add stock and lemon slices, increase heat to high, and scrape skillet bottom with wooden spoon or spatula to loosen browned bits. Simmer until liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and capers and simmer until sauce reduces again to 1/3 cup, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter until butter melts and thickens sauce; swirl in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.
A Great Variation- Chicken Piccata with Prosciutto
Follow recipe for Chicken Piccata, adding 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into pieces 1 inch long and 1/4-inch wide, along with shallot or garlic and sauté just until prosciutto is lightly crisped, about 45 seconds.

2 Comments on “Chicken Piccata”

  1. Franca Alterman says:

    Millie what kind of oil are you using in this recipe to sautée the chicken?

    Sent from my iPad


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