Chicken Piccata (Lemon Chicken)

To Know:

Chicken Piccata is one of my all-time favorite dishes. I usually seek it out at Italian restaurants as an alternative tomato or cream sauces entrees.  The sauce is velvety and bursting with flavor, yet is still light and relatively healthy. The lemon makes it zippy, the capers add a little salty bite and the fresh parsley brightens everything up. Lightly coating the meat in flour and browning it helps to keep it tender and from drying out.

On this particular day, I used chicken tenders because there was a great sale on them, though I wouldn’t encourage it normally as you pay a lot for the convenience. Cutlets are most traditional, but can also be a little spendy. If you are comfortable with a knife, you could easily take regular chicken breasts and slice them into tenders or cut into haves (essentially butterflying) for thinner cutlet pieces.

I like to serve this with some egg noodles tossed in a little butter, chicken stock, salt and pepper, but it is equally great with mashed potatoes, rice or simply on its own with a tossed salad.

To Get:

2  pounds chicken breast, fillets, tenders or cutlets

1/3  cup all-purpose flour

Zest of 1 lemon (remember to zest the lemon before you juice it)

1/2  teaspoon garlic powder

1/4  teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon black pepper

4  tablespoon olive oil

1  tablespoon unsalted butter

1  teaspoon garlic, minced

2  tablespoon capers

1/3  cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

1 1/2  cup no-salt-added or low-sodium chicken stock

1/2  cup parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

To Do:

  1. Take your chicken out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, 15-20 minutes should do it. Pat the pieces dry with paper towel, set aside and wash your hands.
  2. In a zip-top bag or in a medium-sized paper sack, combine the flour, lemon zest, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Once the flour and seasonings are mixed, add the chicken to the bag and shake it like it owes you money until all pieces of chicken are evenly coated.
  3. In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. You will know the oil is hot enough if you drop a pinch of the flour into it and it sizzles.
  4. Shake each piece of chicken well, the flour coating should be very thin. Add the chicken to the pan one at a time in a single layer. You do not want to over-crowd the pan, so you may need to do this step in two batches. Cook the chicken a minute or two until it browns, then turn over and brown the other side. Remove to a plate once both sides are browned. If the pan seems a little dry after the first batch, add another tablespoon or so of oil.
  5. When all the chicken is browned and removed, add the butter, garlic and capers to the pan and cook for a minute or two.
  6. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice and chicken stock. Once the sauce begins to smooth out and thicken, add 1/4 cup of the parsley and combine.
  7. Place the chicken back into the pan, turning it over a few times to coat it in the sauce. Cover and cook on medium low for about 10 minutes (you might want to give it 15 minutes if using whole chicken breasts). Check the chicken for doneness and the sauce to see if you want more salt and pepper. If the sauce is a little too thick, take out the chicken and stir in a little extra chicken stock until it to your desired consistency. Then spoon the sauce on top of the chicken.
  8. Top with the remaining chopped parsley, serve and nosh!

Serves 4-6


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