BowlsChickenCuisineFrenchIndianItalianMainsMeatQuick & Easy

A better Chicken Piccata

20 mins Cook
Copy of NomNom Recipes 1 78

Chicken Piccata is a delightful and speedy dinner option featuring a crispy, pan-seared chicken breast served with a luscious Lemon Butter Caper Sauce. The chicken is perfectly cooked, and the sauce offers a zesty, lemony flavor with just the right amount of tanginess. This dish is not only incredibly easy to make but also remarkably delicious!

Chicken Piccata A better Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

I understand that it might sound presumptuous to call this a “better” Chicken Piccata, so let me clarify that it’s better in my personal opinion. As a widely popular Italian-American classic, I’ve tried various recipes over the years, but I was never truly impressed with the results. The lemon sauce tended to be too sour, making me wince with each bite, and the flavors didn’t quite elevate the somewhat plain chicken.

Many recipes I came across called for an excessive amount of butter and oil, which didn’t sit well with me as I prefer a healthier option for a quick, midweek meal.

Hence, I present my version of Chicken Piccata. The sauce has just the right amount of lemon tang, avoiding the mouth-puckering sourness. I use less fat than traditional recipes and enhance the sauce’s complexity by reducing the white wine during cooking. And for the chicken, a dusting of parmesan adds a delicious layer of flavor that makes it truly enjoyable!

What goes in (my) Chicken Piccata

  • So here’s what you need:
  • Chicken breast – You’ll need 2 breasts, which will serve 3 to 4 people once sliced into 3 pieces and pounded into thin steaks. Alternatively, you can use skinless boneless thigh fillets or tenderloins.
  • Lemon – It’s essential to use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor. Bottled lemon juice won’t yield the same results.
  • White wine – Opt for any dry white wine that isn’t too woody, sweet, or fruity. Chardonnay works particularly well, imparting a delightful flavor to the dish. During cooking, we reduce the wine to cook off the alcohol and concentrate the flavor without making the sauce taste too winey.
  • When choosing wine for cooking, there’s no need to splurge on an expensive bottle. The delicate nuances that make pricey wines special are mostly lost during the cooking process. Notable food authorities, such as New York Times Cooking, support the notion that using inexpensive wine is perfectly suitable for cooking.
  • Substitution: If you prefer not to use alcohol, low sodium chicken stock or broth can be used as an alternative.
  • Capers – Use capers in brine, drained. Capers preserved in salt without liquid can be too salty for this recipe.
  • Butter – We use butter both for cooking the chicken and for the sauce.
  • Olive oil – Utilize olive oil for cooking the chicken, which adds a lovely flavor to the dish.
  • Flour & parmesan – Don’t skip dusting the chicken with flour and parmesan. This step creates a delightful crust that the sauce clings to, making the dish even more delectable. The addition of parmesan is a clever trick that sets this Chicken Piccata apart and makes it truly standout!

How to make Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata is a straight forward, pretty quick recipe:

  • Pound chicken so they cook evenly;
  • Dust with flour > pan sear until golden; and
  • Make sauce in same pan (takes 3 maybe 4 minutes).
    Cut and pound chicken – Start by cutting each chicken breast into 3 pieces. Then, pound each piece until it’s about 1/2cm / 0.2″ thick. To do this, you can use a meat mallet and place the chicken between baking/parchment paper, cling wrap, or “Go-Between” freezer film, which prevents sticking. If using tenderloins, there’s no need to cut them; simply pound each piece. For thigh fillets, halve them and then pound.
  • Dust chicken – Drizzle the chicken with oil, then coat it with the flour and parmesan mixture. Press the chicken into the coating to make it stick, and shake off any excess.
  • Pan fry chicken – In a skillet, cook the chicken in butter and oil over medium-high heat until it turns golden brown, which should take about 3 minutes. Then, flip the chicken and cook the other side for 1 more minute until it’s also golden. The second side cooks faster than the first.
  • Clean skillet – Before proceeding with the sauce, clean the skillet to prevent the sauce from becoming discolored. Pour out the excess fat from the pan and give it a quick wipe with a paper towel.
  • Reduce wine – For the sauce, add the white wine to the skillet and let it simmer rapidly until it reduces by half. This step will cook off the alcohol, eliminating any boozy flavor from the sauce. Then, add lemon juice and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Swirl in butter – Lower the heat to low, then add cubes of butter to the sauce and swirl it to melt it. This emulsifies the butter with the wine and lemon juice, creating a glossy, slightly thickened sauce. Be careful not to let the butter bubble and melt over high heat, as it could lead to the sauce not thickening properly or potentially splitting.
  • Capers & parsley – Finish the sauce by adding capers and parsley.
  • Serve! Plate the chicken pieces and serve them with the luscious Lemon Butter Sauce. There may not be an excessive amount of sauce, but it’s flavorful enough, and the flour-parmesan crust of the chicken will soak up the sauce beautifully, making every bite enjoyable. (And as a “Sauce Girl,” I can assure you that this sauce is just right!)

Serve this with your starchy side of choice and a side salad to get some greens on your plate.

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