Chicken Piccata in 26 minutes

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Prep 10 mins   Cook 16 mins   Eat 26 mins

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata is a classic Italian dish. Almost everyone has tasted this tender chicken dish with a lemony caper sauce at one time or another, but perhaps you’ve never made it yourself. Here’s how to make your Chicken Piccata taste like a restaurant quality dish in no time and learn a new technique – how to butterfly a chicken breast.

Piccata in Italian means “pounded”. This dish first originated in Italy using veal but you now see the dish made with chicken more and more as tastes have changed. It was necessary to pound veal flat to make it tender and we now do the same with chicken breasts, which is what makes this dish special.

1) Slice open chicken breast. 2) Butterflied chicken breast. 3) Cut butterflied breast into two pieces.  4) Pound chicken breast with mallet to tenderize.

1) Slice open chicken breast. 2) Butterflied chicken breast. 3) Cut butterflied breast into two pieces. 4) Pound chicken breast with mallet to tenderize.

The first thing to do when making Chicken Piccata is to butterfly the chicken and pound it. How do you do that? Lay your hand flat over the top of a chicken breast and slice through the middle of it almost all the way, leaving the two pieces of meat connected. Fold it open. This is how you butterfly the chicken. You could stop here and stuff the chicken with all kinds of goodies. But that would not be Chicken Piccata. So cut through the two pieces so that you now have two thinner pieces of chicken breast. Next we place the chicken pieces between plastic wrap and pound them with a mallet to tenderize the chicken.

Chicken pieces sizzling in hot butter and oil

Chicken pieces sizzling in hot butter and oil.

Season your chicken breasts and dredge or dip them in plenty of flour and place in a hot skillet with a combination of melted butter and oil. The butter will give you a nice flavor and golden color on the chicken. The meat should sizzle when it enters the pan. Cook on medium high heat until browned on both sides, but do not overcook.

Piccata Sauce after cooking 10 pieces of chicken is brown, giving it nice flavor.

Piccata Sauce after cooking 10 pieces of chicken is brown, giving it nice flavor.

In our La Cucina Italiana class, we made 20 pieces of Chicken Piccata. Notice how brown the sauce got after browning 10 pieces of chicken in each pan. This adds a lot of flavor to the sauce.

Piccata Sauce after browning only four pieces of chicken.

Piccata Sauce after browning only four pieces of chicken.

I didn’t achieve as much browning when I made this at home with only 4 chicken pieces. Still good stuff, but just pointing out that the browner color is not a bad thing.

We made Chicken Piccata for 20 people at our La Cucina Italiana class using two skillets.

We made Chicken Piccata for 20 people at our La Cucina Italiana class using two skillets.

Reduce the sauce and then add the chicken pieces back in so they can soak up some of the flavor of the sauce.  Place chicken pieces on individual plates or a platter and pour remaining sauce over the chicken.  Eat immediately. So good!

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Chicken Piccata

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 pinch salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup + flour
4 Tablespoons butter (divided)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Butterfly chicken breasts by cutting into the side of the breast all the way through and then cut into two pieces. Place each piece of chicken between plastic wrap and pound it to flatten with a mallet.

2. Place flour onto a plate and season breast pieces with salt and pepper.

3. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons of butter and 3 Tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat.  When butter has melted and sizzles, dip the chicken pieces one by one into the flour, coating both sides and place into the skillet.  Cook chicken 3 minutes on each side or until it browns.  Do not overcook. Remove chicken pieces to a platter.

4. Add lemon juice and chicken stock to the pan.  Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.  Add in capers and warm through.  Return chicken pieces to the skillet and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.

5. Plate chicken pieces, then add 2 Tablespoon butter to the skillet. Whisk in butter until melted and combined. Then pour sauce over the chicken.  Garnish with parsley.

Servings: 4   362 calories per serving

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