Confession: I don’t know why, but “chicken piccata” always sounded intimidating, so I never gave it the light of day in the kitchen. That is, until this post came along (thanks Clare!). It looked SO GOOD, and the ingredients list was a piece of cake. Since I had two chicken breasts sitting around anyway, I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad I did. The thin chicken with light breading and the sour brininess of the lemon-caper sauce was SO GOOD.
Knowing nothing about chicken piccata, I did some google searching and compared recipes. The googled-recipe I liked best was this Giada one from Food Network.
Some recipes say to butterfly the chicken, some say to pound it. Since I don’t have a meat mallet, I went the butterfly route. The trick is, use a sharp knife, set the chicken on the cutting board, push it down with your hand and cut it into thin halves that way. The sharp knife will go through the chicken easier and the pressure from your hand will help guide the knife. Just be careful. If you’re really clumsy with knives, have someone else do it, or go the meat mallet route.
The other thing I did was, since Clare’s recipe called for wine, I bought a whole bottle (which, miraculously, fit into my budget). Then I found Giada’s recipe, which called for chicken broth instead. I happened to have about half a cup sitting in the fridge, leftover from something (I think pot pie?), so I just used that instead. That just means I have a bottle of chardonnay to sip on while making Thanksgiving dinner :)
Moral of the story: chicken piccata is NOT intimidating. It IS delicious. You should give it a try.
Ingredients (4 servings):
- 2 chicken breasts, butterflied or halved & pounded down
- salt & pepper
- 1/2 c flour
- about 4 Tbsp butter, divided
- about 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- about 1/2 c white wine or chicken broth
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lemon
- about 2 Tbsp capers, drained
- 1 large head of broccoli, cut into large florets (would also go well with spinach)
- Start a pot of water to steam the broccoli
- Season the chicken with salt & pepper on both sides
- Dredge the chicken in flour, be sure to shake off the excess
- Heat about 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat
- When hot and sizzling, add 2 pieces of chicken. Cook, turning once, until browned on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate
- Somewhere in here, when the broccoli water comes to a boil, start the broccoli steaming
- Add the other 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pan, when hot/melted/sizzling, add the other two pieces of chicken, cook the same way (3 mins per side til brown, transfer to a plate)
- To the fry pan, add the wine or broth, stir to get all the brown off the bottom of the pan
- Add the garlic, capers and as much juice as you can get out of the lemon to the pan, stir
- Put the chicken back in the pan for a few minutes, turning once, to get sauce all over ‘em
- Serve the chicken, topped with sauce, with a pile of broccoli next to it. The broccoli is delicious dipped in the sauce.