Add this briny, lemony dish to your culinary repertoire.
Add this briny, lemony dish to your culinary repertoire.
Photo by Noonch

Dish of the Week: Chicken Piccata

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we’re sharing an Italian take on chicken, with a deeper look into chicken piccata.

The feminine form of the Italian word piccato, meaning “larded,” and a past participle of piccare, or “to prick” — the term piccata is also used to describe an Italian dish made with meat, poultry or fish that is butterflied, sautéed in butter and/or olive oil and served in a lemon-butter sauce. The protein can be breaded, dredged in flour, or simply seasoned with salt and pepper before being cooked to a golden brown.

Other common ingredients include garlic, shallots, spices, fresh herbs like parsley, dry white wine, chicken stock, and the star of the dish: bright, briny capers. The lemony sauce gets reduced to thicken and an extra pat of butter can be added for a silky finish.

In Italy, the piccata dish (often veal) is traditionally served as a secondo, a meat or fish course that is served after the primo, a first course featuring a starch like pasta or risotto. In the the U.S., however, the dish is commonly served with the starch — think pasta, rice, potatoes or polenta.

This recipe, from Ina Garten, makes the chicken extra crisp by incorporating a bread-crumb coating. Dry white wine adds depth and another acidic punch to the lemon butter sauce.

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients serves 2
2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the sauté pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate.

Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

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