One of my greatest dinnertime meal planning woes is that my husband doesn’t like chicken, particularly chicken breasts. I personally don’t like cooking dark meat because I don’t like dealing with the extra “stuff.” Mind you, I’d take a big juicy steak over chicken most days, but I’m always trying to find “inoffensive” ways to add chicken to our dinners so our red meat intake doesn’t get out of control.
There seems to be two exceptions to the “no chicken” rule at our house–rotisserie chicken from the market (which means I don’t have to cook!) and Chicken Piccata. Or as Scott affectionately calls it, Chicken with the Green Things. If you’re not familiar with Chicken Piccata, it is a wonderfully lemony dish topped with tangy capers. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The recipe that I use is one that I found online years and years ago and I couldn’t find it when I recently searched. Thank goodness for having everything nice and neat in my recipe scrapbook! (shameless plug).
Cooking this Chicken Piccata taught me many things about cooking chicken. Before this dish, I had never pounded chicken to a similar thickness throughout. I was plagued with having a fat end taking forever to cook while the smaller side was overcooked. I also learned that a simple salt and pepper seasoning before cooking the chicken goes a long way. This recipe also taught me the basics of deglazing a pan with wine and has given me the confidence to make a simple pan sauce. The result of this dish is a tender and juicy chicken with a sauce that is mouthwatering.
Thank goodness for Chicken Piccata and allowing us to have an occasional chicken dish!
Serves 2 (with pounding the breasts, I find that I usually have enough that I can feed my own little chickens).
2 chicken breasts (around 1lb total)
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp paprika
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
for pan sauce
1 large lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp white wine
2 Tbsp capers
1 Tbsp cold butter
1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper and pound to 1/4″ (or desired and even) thickness.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot.
3. Mix together the flour, cheese, paprika, and any additional salt and pepper on a plate. Moisten the chicken breasts and dredge in the flour mixture. Let the chicken rest a few minutes and dredge again (if you’re not impatient or in a hurry).
4. Add the chicken to the hot oil until golden brown on that side, flip and cook chicken breast on otherside until chicken is cooked throughout to at least 165°. Set aside and tent with foil or place in the oven to keep warm.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice, wine, and capers to the skillet. Return to heat and scrape up any browned bits from the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the sauce until it is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and swirl in the butter. When melted, pour the sauce equally over the chicken breasts.
6. Enjoy. And lick up any remaining lemon sauce.
You could easily make this for more people by multiplying the ingredients (you might want to double the sauce anyway!), though I’ve never gotten the hang of cooking chicken breasts in batches without the first batch getting a little soggy. Guess with our expanding crew it’s something I should figure out. One thing at a time!
Have you ever had Chicken Piccata? What’s your favorite way to dress up a chicken breast?
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