Chicken Piccata is a dish in both Italian and Italian-American cuisine, though its exact origins remain unclear. The term piccata actually refers to a method of preparation rather than a dish itself. Chicken piccata is the more common dish in the US and refers to a chicken breast pounded thin, dredged in flour, fried in oil, and served with a lemon, caper, and butter sauce. In Italy, the dish is more commonly made with veal, but the preparation is the same. I have also heard of piccata made with swordfish, seitan, duck, and a variety of other proteins, so the door is open for creative interpretation once you master the basics.
Chicken piccata has become one of my very favorite dishes to cook. There are a few steps to it, but nothing complicated. After you have done it once, it is easy, and the results are invariably phenomenal. A one pan dish, easy to throw together, with incredible flavor that will surely please the whole house.
In the States, chicken piccata is typically served alongside a starch such as pasta, polenta, or rice, but for a more traditional Italian meal, serve it by itself as a secondo (second course, typically following the starch course).
2 chicken breasts, sliced in half and pounded thin
Flour to dredge chicken in
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp butter
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup sherry or dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup capers, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Cut chicken breasts in half and pound thin. Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour and fry in 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat until well browned on both sides, a few minutes each. Remove the chicken to a plate to drain and reduce the heat to medium.
Add the garlic and allow it to cook for 30-60 seconds. Do not let it brown. As soon as it begins to brown, add the capers and wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get up any fond.
Add ½ cup chicken broth and cook for 30 seconds. Add 2 tbsp butter and whisk as it melts to incorporate.
Return the chicken to the pan and allow it to cook for around 2 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.
Increase heat to medium-high and cook the sauce around one additional minute to allow it to reduce further.
Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and whisk to mix well. Add salt to taste.
Serve one cutlet per person with a generous amount of sauce.