Chicken Piccata

June 29th, 2010

Piccata is an easy dish to make, and one that makes use of some of cooking’s most essential skills – sauteing and making a pan sauce. The key is to use fresh ingredients, real wine (throw the “cooking wine” away and pick up some dry vermouth – keep it in the fridge with the cap closed) and to get a good saute of the meat so that it doesn’t burn, remaining juicy and tender.

For Veal Picatta, just use veal cutlets instead of chicken breasts and perhaps a dash of veal stock along with the chicken stock.  Veal cutlets cook faster, so use less time when sauteing them.

Use enough oil, and don’t saute thick pieces of meat.  Trust me on this – cut them thin.

Chicken Piccata Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Additional flour for dredging (~ 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup low-salt chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. Dry chicken breasts well.  Lightly pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness (for thick breasts, butterfly the breast with a sharp knife).
  2. Mix 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons flour in small bowl until smooth. Place additional flour in shallow baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Dip chicken into flour to coat; shake off excess.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet until almost smoking. Add chicken breasts and cook on medium-high heat (do not move the breasts) until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a platter; tent with foil to keep warm.
  5. Add wine to the hot skillet (watch for flames if the pan is very hot).  Scrape the pan well to get all of the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, and boil off some of the wine.  Add lemon juice and broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  6. Whisk in butter-flour mixture and boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in capers, parsley and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over the chicken breasts and serve.
Chicken Piccata
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“Food that`s too safe, too pasteurized, too healthy - it`s bad! There should be some risk, like unpasteurized cheese. Food is about rot, and decay, and fermentation as much as it is also about freshness.”
~ Anthony Bourdain