Chicken Piccata is a quick, easy yet very special Italian dish. Tender, boneless chicken in buttery-caper sauce. Ready in less than 30 minutes.There isn’t anything I enjoy more than being able to cook and serve a 5 star restaurant worthy meal that my family and friends can enjoy – without having to spend every last penny in order to do so. That’s one of the reasons why I adore my chicken piccata recipe – it’s simple, delicious and so easy to make – and just about everyone who tastes it thinks I picked it up from our favorite local Italian joint on my way home from work.
Chicken piccata is an old world Italian classic. Once you taste and prepare it, you’ll never be able to live without it. Made with chicken, butter and capers, my chicken piccata recipe is a favorite in my home, and an easy go-to-meal for any day of the week. With a preparation time of less than 20 minutes, and cooking for roughly the same amount of time, dinner served (!) will take on a whole new meaning once this gorgeous dish is put on the table.
Piccata, from the Italian for “larded,” is a term used to describe the method in which the dish is prepared – sliced, sautéed and served in a lemon and butter sauce with spices. The traditional Italian dish is most commonly made with veal, with chicken being a more popular substitute in the United States. There are also seafood and meatless versions of piccata served around the world.
Chicken piccata is by far one of the more popular dishes served at restaurants. My recipe for chicken piccata stays true to its historical legacy as being simple and delicious.
INGREDIENTS AND PREPARATION
There are just a handful of ingredients that go into making any chicken piccata: sliced and battered chicken breasts, butter, white wine, and capers. The sauce is made by scraping up the bits from the pan with lemon juice and white wine added and reduced. I like to keep my meals as easy and affordable as possible, so my recipe for chicken piccata doesn’t always include white wine. Feel free to substitute it for chicken broth instead.
With all of the recipes I like to share with you, I always recommend that you buy the freshest cuts of meat that you can find. One of the great things about using chicken to make chicken piccata is that it is one of the cheapest (in terms of cost) meats on the market. And while that’s always nice for anyone’s budget, try not to exclude “quality” when you shop. It will go a long way, in every way.
When preparing this dish, you’ll need two types of kitchen utensils: a sharp edged cutting knife and a meat tenderizer. More than likely you already have a trusty knife in your kitchen drawer. If you don’t already have a tenderizer, no need to go out of your way to buy one. Using any kitchen appliance that is large enough and has a flat bottom will do just fine.
First, make sure to choose skinless and boneless chicken breasts. Then, you’ll need to slice the chicken along it’s width (a chicken breast that is sliced in this manner is called butterflied). Then, you’ll flatten the chicken breast. Place the chicken in between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and beat the chicken until it’s flattened.
Before we go any further: you may end up with skinless and boneless breasts that don’t require a generous pounding: they are already thin enough to cook evenly and nicely in the saute pan. In that case, you may not need to go full throttle with your tenderizer. But, you do want chicken breasts that are thinned, but not too much that there isn’t anything left to cook!
Now, back to it. Once you’ve gotten the chicken to the desired thickness, don’t forget to generously season the chicken with salt and pepper. Lastly, dredge it in flour before it enters the frying pan, making sure to dust off any excess flour as you go along.
As I mentioned earlier, the sauce is made using drippings from the frying pan – where all the heavenly flavor for this dish comes from. Sauce for chicken piccata consists, simply, of butter and oil, which the chicken is browned in. Use lemon juice and white wine (or chicken broth) to scrape the pan bits and let it reduce.
Chicken piccata wouldn’t really be chicken piccata without the addition of capers. These edible flower buds come from the plant Capparis spinosa (the caper bush in Latin) or, in English, called Flinders rose. Capers are a popular Mediterranean seasoning and garnish. And, the fruit or buds, are usually eaten pickled. You can find capers in almost any food market.
I add capers with the lemon juice and white wine while making the sauce in the pan. Depending on your tolerance for salty and a pickled flavor that brined capers bring, you might want to consider draining and rinsing them before adding them to the pan. You can also add sliced shallots and garlic if you want to add any other additional flavors to your sauce.
SIMPLE AND CLASSY
Chicken piccata can pretty much be described with two words: simple and classy. This dish literally proves that elegant, delicious food does not have to be fussy or take hours to make. Also, most of the ingredients you need for making piccata you probably already have stored away in your food pantry. Nothing could be simpler than arranging a beautiful dinner with ingredients you already have at home, so always try and consider keeping frozen chicken, butter, lemons, capers, and white wine (or chicken broth) close at hand.
Chicken piccata can be served with fresh linguine, spinach salad, or rice pilaf on the side. Or, just serve as is, with some chopped parsley sprinkled on top. You won’t be disappointed with the perfect combination of briny, tangy, buttery, and refreshing. As the saying goes in Italian: Tutti a tavola a mangiare!
EASY CHICKEN PICCATA
- Chicken breasts ( cut in half horizontally)- 3 ( 0.5 cm/1/4 inch thick)
- Any Chicken spice mix- 1 tbsp
- Unsalted Butter- 4 tbsp
- Corn Flour- 1 cup
- Fresh Lemon juice-5 tbsp
- Olive oil-4 tbsp
- Dry White wine-1/3 cup
- Chicken stock- ⅓ cup
- Capers- 6 tbsp ( You can put less; it depends on your taste)
- Fresh parsley leaves/dill leaves- 3 tbsp ( finely chopped)
- Freshly ground black pepper- 1 tsp
- White pepper- ⅓ tsp
- Salt -To Taste
- Coat the chicken breasts in chicken spice mix, season with salt and pepper. Allow it to marinate 10-15 minutes.
- Dredge chicken in corn flour generously and shake off the excess.
- In a non-stick frying pan or in a skillet , melt 2 tbsp butter. Add olive oil. When it is hot enough, add chicken & saute until browned on both sides. I took for me 4 minutes per side ( over medium heat).
- Add the remaining oil and repeat to saute the remaining chicken.
- Transfer the browned chicken to plates.
- In the same frying pan add dry wine, chicken stock, fresh lemon juice. Cook until the sauce is slightly evaporated. 5-7 minutes over medium heat.
- Remove the pan from the stove , whisk the remaining butter ( 2 tbsp), capers and parsley. Season with white/black pepper to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.