The first time I heard of Chicken Piccata was a few years ago watching Ina Garten on Barefoot Contessa. She makes everything look so simple and delicious. I have been playing around with recipes for it ever since. It is one of those dishes that can be on the table in under 30 minutes, depending on the side you serve with it, but feels like you put in much more effort.
As far as I know this dish is an Americanised version of the Italian classic Veal Piccata. Traditionally the chicken is butterflied and pounded to an even thickness, coated in seasoned flour, fried and served with a lemon and butter sauce. Over time when making Chicken Piccata I have added a coating of breadcrumbs and I just love the extra crunch this gives the dish. It is optional, sometimes I haven’t even bothered with the flour coating so go with what you like, the sauce is the real star of the dish anyway.
Useful tips & links:
- The sauce for piccata is made with lemon, butter, capers, parsley and either white wine or chicken stock. As I am clearly a lush I use wine but because I want the flavour of the stock I add a spoon of concentrate too. I’m greedy like that.
- Traditionalists might want to look away now, sometimes I add a little double cream to the sauce for himself as he likes it a bit richer. When I have made the sauce I pour off my own and then add a little double cream to the pan and just gently warm through.
- If you want to add extra flavours to this dish, add some dried oregano to the breadcrumbs. I have also added parmesan to the breadcrumbs in the past but now prefer to keep it to the salad.
- I served the Chicken Piccata with spaghetti, it is quick and easy and the pasta soaks up that delicious sauce. Have a large pot of boiling water on the hob and when starting the sauce put the pasta on. This way it is ready just as a sauce is done. Diana Henry has a recipe for this dish in her book Simple and serves it with lemon and parsley orzo. Another great side for this is Alison Roman’s delicious Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Fried Onions and Parsley from Dining In.
- For more chicken dishes with Italian flavours have a look at my Chicken with Creamy Sundried Tomato Sauce or my Caprese Stuffed Chicken.
- Emma from Treacle.ie has a fab recipe combining chicken and lemon with her Simple Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Lemon.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 100g of plain flour
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg
- 100g of panko or regular breadcrumbs
- Oil and butter for frying
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 125ml of white wine
- The juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons of capers, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon of chicken stock concentrate
- 50g of unsalted butter
- A handful of flat parsley leaves, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 100c/80c fan/gas mark ¼
- You need to butterfly your chicken breast or you can ask your butcher to do this for you. Place the butterflied breasts into a ziploc bag and and pound with a rolling pin or tenderiser until the meat is roughly the same thickness all over.
- Mix the flour with some salt and pepper and pour this into the bag with the chicken. Shake to coat the chicken.
- Set up 2 bowls, one with the egg whisked and the other with the breadcrumbs. Remove the chicken from the bag and shake gently to get rid of excess flour. Dip the chicken in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs to coat it. If you have time, put it into the fridge for twenty minutes to help the coating to stick to the chicken when frying.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil with a knob of butter in a wide frying pan over a medium high heat. You want the oil quite hot so that the chicken fries quickly and doesn’t just soak up the oil.
- Fry the chicken for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and keep it warm in the oven while you make the sauce.
- Leave the oil and butter that you cooked the chicken in in the pan and lower the heat. Add the diced shallot and garlic and gently fry for a couple of minutes until soft.
- Add the wine and turn up the heat to reduce the wine and burn off the alcohol. Reduce the heat again and add in the stock concentrate, half of the lemon juice and the capers. Season with a little black pepper but you may not need any salt as the capers and stock could be salty. Taste and add more lemon juice as needed, I tend to use all of it.
- Lower the heat so that the butter does not split and add in the butter and parsley and gently stir to combine. Taste for final seasoning.
- Take the chicken out of the oven and serve with the sauce. Don’t pour too much over the chicken itself or the breadcrumbs will become soggy. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a simple tomato and parmesan salad.