Traditionally, piccata is an Italian dish of thin veal cuts sautéed and served with a lemony pan sauce. In this recipe, we give boneless, skinless chicken breasts the same treatment. Slice the chicken in half, pound until thin, dredge in seasoned flour, and sauté until golden brown. Then make a quick pan sauce flavored with garlic, white wine, and lots of lemon juice. Stir in briny, salty capers and you’ve got a bright, citrusy sauce to spoon over the chicken and serve with rice pilaf and roasted asparagus.
Game plan: You’ll need to remove the tenders from the chicken breasts for this recipe; they’re the long, thin flaps hanging loosely from the side of the breasts. (They somewhat resemble fingers, hence “chicken fingers.”) Freeze and use them later to make these crispy baked chicken fingers.
Watch the CHOW Test Kitchen’s Lisa Lavery make this simple Italian dish in an episode of our Easiest Way video series.
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenders removed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
- 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 1/2 medium lemons)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 cup capers
1Place the flour in a shallow dish, season generously with salt and pepper, whisk to combine, and set aside.
2Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and cut each breast in half horizontally to form 2 thin pieces. Place 1 piece on a work surface, cover with plastic wrap, and pound to an even 1/4-inch thickness with a meat mallet, a rolling pin, or the bottom of a pan; transfer to a large plate. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of chicken. Season both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
3Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, fit a wire rack over a baking sheet; set aside.
4When the oil is ready, dredge 2 pieces of chicken in the seasoned flour, turn to coat both sides, and shake off any excess. Place the chicken in the pan and cook until light golden brown around the edges and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the wire rack, season with salt, and cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of chicken.
5Pour any remaining oil out of the pan, return it to medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. When it foams, add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine, lemon juice, and measured salt and pepper and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until reduced by half and starting to thicken, about 3 to 4 minutes.
6Add the capers, stir to combine, and cook until warmed through, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
7Whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter 1 piece at a time, letting each melt before adding the next, until all of the butter has been added and the sauce has thickened. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately with the chicken piccata, spooning some of the sauce over each piece.
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