Friday, February 25, 2011

Chicken Piccata

The sauce is light and nicely seeps into the breaded part of the chicken, which is oh-so-delicious!

I tend to prefer recipes that have as few ingredients and steps as possible. I saw this recipe in Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa At Home  cookbook and thought it was one that I could actually manage. While I dirtied a few more dishes than I usually like to, I found that I was able to master this process pretty easily. It's now one of our favorite dishes and a go-to for guests because it has such great flavor to it. The bread crumbs become slightly crispy, and the sauce - oh the sauce - so easy and great on any kind of chicken to be honest. I've whipped up the sauce on nights where all I feel like doing is throwing a chicken breast on the skillet. 

I chose to pair this with buttermilk mashed potatoes (separate post, pictures here and in other post) and frozen peas. I love fresh vegetables but I always have frozen peas and broccoli in the freezer to use on nights where I don't have the energy - or space! - to cook more than a few dishes from scratch. This sauce is nice drizzled over the peas, and even mixed into the mashed potatoes.

I hope you enjoy this one because, as I mentioned, it's one of our favorites! :)

*2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*kosher salt  (regular salt is fine but I've found, thanks to Ina, that kosher salt is a little softer)
*ground black pepper
*1/2 cup all-purpose flour
*1 extra large egg
*1 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs (I love the FoodClub Italian seasoning bread crumbs)
*olive oil
*3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
*1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), with lemon halves reserved (don't throw them away after you're done squeezing the juice!)
*1/2 cup dry white wine (I usually get whatever Chardonnay is on sale)
*sliced lemon and/or parsley for serving


*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (I've skipped this step and been just fine with results).

*Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap (plastic or zip-loc bags work fine if you don't have parchment paper!). Pound chicken out to 1/4-inch thick. (The first time I read this I said, "Pound out how??" So, I decided to place the parchment paper and chicken on a cutting board, and I used a rolling pin to literally pound the chicken until it was thinner. It made a lot of noise - still does - but it got the job done!) After you've pounded out the chicken sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

*Mix the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper on a shallow plate or dish. In a second plate (or, as I prefer, shallow bowl), beat the egg and 1 tablespoon water together.  Place the bread crumbs on a third plate or dish.

*Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  I've found it's important to really let the pan heat up before adding the chicken.

*While the pan is heating up, dip each chicken breast in the flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip the chicken in the egg mixture, followed by the bread crumbs. I like to gently push both sides into the bread crumbs to ensure it doesn't all fall off.

*Add both chicken breasts to the hot pan and cook for about 2-5 minutes on both sides, depending on your stove. We have an electric stove so it really requires about 5 minutes, but I know good gas stoves could do it in about 2 minutes. You want to make sure each side is browned, and try to touch the chicken as little as possible to avoid it drying out.

*When both sides are browned, place them on a sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

*On medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter in small saucepan. Once the butter is melted, add the lemon juice, white wine, lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

*Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves.

*Serve one chicken breast on each plate, spoon on the sauce, and serve with sliced lemon and/or parsley (optional). Choose your perfect sides to pair this with and enjoy!

This is how thin my chicken is after I pound it out. If it's much thicker than this the bread crumbs will cook too quickly and will burn. If it's much thinner than this the chicken will cook more quickly than the bread crumbs and can leave you with dry chicken.

My little station for breading the chicken breasts before throwing them on the hot skillet. A little - er, a lot - messy, I know. I'm working on cooking without the mess. Baby steps.

What the white wine, lemon butter sauce looks like while cooking.

Chicken before dressing it with the sauce.

I plated the chicken with buttermilk mashed potatoes (see later post) and peas. I chose frozen peas because they're cheap and after all the other dishes I needed an easy, healthy, cheap way to finish the meal. *Chicken is shown before I dressed it with the sauce. I got too excited to eat it after dressing it that I only managed one picture!


  1. I had four people in a two-day span try and love this recipe. I'd love to hear of anyone else who tried and enjoyed it! :)

  2. I am going to make this later this week, but I just wanted to let you know the "pound it out" step generally refers to a meat tenderizer aka that metal square hammer thingy with pokey pines on either side. You start pounding in the center of the meat and move toward the edges. This literally does tenderize the meat and makes it less rubbery. That being said, I am all for making adjustments when you don't have the "right" things, in which case, a rolling pin as a mallet works well indeed. I do not have a rolling pin and today used an empty wine bottle as one. I will let you know how it goes when I make this chicken.


I love to hear from you!
I try to answer every comment, so please check back soon!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...