Several weeks ago, I made chicken piccata for the first time. I’ve had it a handful of times over the years (though the last time was probably at least 5 years ago), but for some reason it had never occurred to me to make it myself. One day, it dawned on me that chicken piccata combines two of my very favorite elements in any dish – salt (capers) and acid (lemon juice), and that realization put it at the top of my “to make” list!
1.5lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1.5 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 large eggs
1.5 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3 T salted butter, divided
1 T olive oil
3 T capers, drained
3/4 cup dry white wine
one handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1.) To start, you want to butterfly your chicken breasts into thinner pieces. This will be much easier if your knife is really sharp, so you might want to sharpen it before you start. I butterflied mine into 3 fillets each, and they each ended up being about 1/4″ thick; this gave me about 9 chicken breast fillets. Alternatively, you could pound the chicken breasts out to an even thinness (cover the chicken with saran wrap before you start pounding it, so you don’t end up with tiny raw chicken bits flying all over your kitchen).
2.) Set up your breading station. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper; in the second bowl, whisk the eggs until the whites and yolks are completely blended; in the third bowl, place the seasoned bread crumbs.
3.) Preheat your oven to 250°, and place a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack on it in the oven. Place a large skillet over medium heat, and melt one tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Allow the butter and oil to heat as you bread your first few pieces of chicken. Dredge each piece of chicken in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs – making sure to coat the chicken in each thoroughly, and shake off any excess before moving to the next step.
4.) Gently place as many pieces of chicken into the pan as can comfortably fit, being sure not to crowd them together. The butter and oil should sizzle and bubble up around the chicken as you place it into the pan.
5.) Fry the chicken for about 2 minutes on the first side, until it’s nicely golden brown. Flip, and fry for another 2 minutes on the second side. Keep a close eye on it – since the chicken is thin, it will cook quickly!
6.) When the first batch is cooked, remove it to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Then, move the cooked chicken to the baking sheet in the oven, to keep it warm. If needed, add more butter and oil to the pan before adding the second batch of chicken. Keep pan frying in batches (moving the cooked chicken to the warm oven) until all the chicken is done.
7.) When you’re done cooking the chicken, carefully wipe out the pan you used to fry with a paper towel. (Pro tip: if you do not do this carefully, you will drop a clump of HOT oil and bread crumbs on to your hand, and it will burn like hell, and leave a mark. I’m just saying.)
8.) Keep the pan over medium-low heat, and add the wine and capers. When the wine starts to bubble, add the juice of one and a half lemons (reserving the second half of the second lemon to cut into wedges for serving). Additionally, add 2 tablespoons of butter to the sauce, and stir it in until it’s completely melted. Allow the sauce to simmer for just a minute or two, and then remove it from the heat.
9.) Place a couple pieces of chicken on your plate, and spoon the wine sauce and capers over the top. Finish with a sprinkle of parsley, and serve with a wedge of lemon on the side.
My husband and I really, really loved this chicken. Before I made it, he was nervous about the capers, thinking he didn’t like them… but then he tried it and realized that capers are just tiny, delightful bites of salty goodness!
The crispy, golden breading is deliciously buttery and wonderful – but the bright acidity of the lemon and the salty bite of the capers cut through the richness of the butter, and the parsley lends a bit of freshness. Overall, this is a simple and tasty way to dress up some boring old chicken!
Don’t fear the capers,