Chicken piccata is one of the few recipes that my entire family can agree on. Between the brightness of the lemons, the saltiness of the capers, and tender chicken filets, you just can’t go wrong. Complex yet surprisingly easy to make, this can serve as both a quick weeknight dinner and a formal meal for guests. The original recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen, but I’ve tweaked it over the years until it has been adapted into my current version.
When we were living in Norfolk I used to make large pans of the piccata to serve to all of the geographical bachelors living on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. (And let me tell you, those men could eat a lot of food). Now I am more apt to cook up reasonable, family sized quantities and serve it along side a parmesan risotto and green vegetable smaller sit down dinners. I usually make a double batch since the flavors mellow with re-heating and taste even better the next day. If you want to spend time with your guests and avoid last-minute preparations, you can make it ahead of time then let it sit over low heat for several hours since the flavors will only intensify and the lemons will break down and become bite-tender. The recipe produces a generous amount of sauce since I like to serve it over rice. You can reduce the quantity by half and since have enough of its tasty goodness to satisfy all of your guests. Oh, and this is a great dish to use up any extra lemons you might have in the kitchen.
LEMONY CHICKEN PICCATA
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and fresh ground pepper
8 thin, boneless chicken breast cutlets
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups, low-sodium chicken broth
1 large lemon, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch moons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons capers, rinsed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Spread the flour in a shallow dish and sprinkle liberally with the salt and pepper. Dredge each cutlet in the flour mixture and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the cutlets and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add more oil to the skillet if needed and repeat the cooking process with the remaining chicken.
- Add the shallot and garlic to the oil left in the skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and lemon slices, deglazing the pan and scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until reduced and syrupy, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice, capers, and any accumulated chicken juice. Return the chicken to the sauce. At this point the chicken can sit over low heat until ready to serve.
- Immediately before serving stir in the butter, one piece at a time. Turn off the heat, adjust the salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped parsley.