Chicken Piccata

Chicken, Italian, Main Courses / Thursday, March 12th, 2009


Few things are as rewarding as beating the hell out of a raw piece of chicken. It’s cathartic AND delicious.

It’s also the first step for making Ina Garten’s Chicken Piccata, one of this month’s Barefoot Bloggers recipes. Traditionally, Chicken Piccata is a seasoned, breaded chicken breast served with a sauce made from pan drippings, white wine, capers, lemon and butter.  With Ina’s version, the chicken finishes in the oven while you make the sauce – minus the pan drippings and capers.

The sauce. It is extremely tart and lemony. Even with three tablespoons of butter, it’ll make you wince and pucker. NOT the sort of sauce you want to indiscriminately pour over the chicken, unless you’re carrying a lot of self-loathing. Instead, taste it first, and then decide how much you want. Otherwise, all of that sweet raw-chicken catharsis will be wasted, and how crappy is that?

Chicken Piccata

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa at Home”

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
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute 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.
  5. For the Sauce: Wipe out the saute 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.
  6. 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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36 thoughts on “Chicken Piccata

  1. That looks so yummy! Okay… so I’m a total moron and had never seen your About page until today. I know, I know… what a tool! Anyway… you’re gorgeous and hilarious!

  2. First time I made piccata, the tartness of the sauce was very startling to me and Steve – I had to learn how to adjust it for our taste, or just add very little to the chicken.

    I have the urge to go pound a chicken breast and fry it now.

  3. Beautiful presentation! Agree with you about the sauce. I added more wine and butter to cut some of the tartness. I would probably cut the lemon even more next time. Still good though.

  4. i DROWNED mine in sauce… loved it! yours is very photogenic. and i agree, it’s fun beating the hell out of a piece of raw chicken!

  5. Melissa: All chicken breasts should be scared of you right now. Go for it!

    Delta Whiskey: Thank you, thank you. I just expanded the “About” page Tuesday morning, so you hadn’t missed anything.

    Maria: Thanks! All of those ugly chicken shots I’ve taken in the past finally paid off!

    heather: You’re kidding. I still haven’t seen it.

    bmk: Thanks! I wound up using just a little sauce, because I didn’t want to use up any more butter trying to mellow it out. Three tablespoons, and it’s STILL pucker material.

    karen: GET OUT. It wasn’t too tart for you? Did you use Meyer lemons or something to mellow it out?

    DebinHawaii: Thanks! Hard to take a glamor shot of a cutlet.

    Shari: Thanks! The crispiness makes it for me. These cutlets actually make good sandwiches. Shhhhh.

  6. I’ve made this exact recipe many times…one of my favorites! Maybe I will make it this weekend. True about the lemoniness (?) but my husband didn’t mind at all.

  7. Totally lemony but I loved it…the sauce is good on veggies to. Glad you got a workout and some free therapy with the pounding!

  8. You’re so right: pounding chicken is totally cathartic. In fact, I think it’s easy to get carried away! This chicken looks superbly delicious. Yummy!

  9. no, i used regular lemons. it was pretty tart at times and i’d have to take a little break here and there but it didn’t stop me!

  10. I saw the episode where she made this and thought wondered if the sauce would be too lemony…thankfully now when I make it I’ll know to adjust!! Beautiful photo, BTW!

  11. Chicken piccata is the first dish I ever made for an romantic interest. I’ll tell the story on my blog soon enough. I use a very tweaked version of Ina’s recipe as well. I think. :) Cheers and bravo!

  12. What a lovely shot. I wonder if there maybe different levels of sourness in lemons the way there are different levels of heat in chillies. Mine wasn’t really sour at all – seems like half the BBs found it too sour and half didn’t?

  13. This flour/egg/cracker crumbs is the coating your mommow always wants. You can fry anything that creeps/swims/crawls/flies with it and it is great.

    Picture is beautiful. You’ve come along way from the brownie camera!

  14. It was a bit tart, wasn't it. Oh did I love pounding out that chicken. I had trouble stopping actually, but I finally did as I don't care for thin chicken.

  15. Yes, the sauce was quite puckery–a little goes a long way! But beating out the chicken? Definitely great fun!

  16. Oh well. It sure looks good. I agree on the catharsis of hammering that chicken out.

    Question: Do you take photos BEFORE you eat or save it for later? Every time I do photos, my food and guests sit waiting and everything begins to go cold. So I rush the job and it just isn't the best photo.

  17. Oh, I love lemony and puckery…bring on that sauce! Yours looks very inviting, who would not want to sit down to dinner with this in the offing? I love chicken picata, have made almost every recipe of Ina's, but I have never made this one for some reason…maybe because I already like the recipe I have for it…seeing yours, however, may have inspired me to give hers a try…and you won't care if I throw in a few capers, right?

  18. That's funny, this is a lot how I make it – no capers style. We can't have wine so we use Chicken broth – real good, too. I like the idea of baking the chicken after a quick fry. That's a great idea.

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