Chicken piccata is one of those dishes that sounds much more complicated to make than it really is. Here’s how to do it right!
Pan sauces are wonderful and complex because the get flavor from the browned meat that sticks to the bottom of the pan. Learning to make pan sauces is a basic skill all cooks should learn. They have multiple applications. Use a 12″ stainless steel frying pan. Stainless is better than non-stick because you want the pan to cause the meat juices to brown and stick to the pan, but not burn. These brown bits, called fond (which means roughly “base”) by French chefs, will dissolve when we make the sauce and add to the flavor.
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In this recipe, we take ordinary chicken breasts and amplify the favors exponentially with a pan sauce comprised of lemon, butter, sherry, white wine, and capers. Also feel free to substitute the chicken with veal, pork, or even turkey.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup cream sherry
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about the juice of 1 medium lemon)
- 2 tablespoons brined capers, drained and rinsed
These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Prep. Pound the chicken breasts flat for more even cooking using the technique found here. Put the flour on a dinner plate, add the salt and pepper, mix, and spread it out on the surface. Lay each breast on the plate one at a time and coat it lightly with the flour on all sides by rolling it around in the white stuff.
- Fire up. Heat the pan a medium-high heat and then add the oil.
- Cook. As soon as the oil starts to sizzle, add the meat and let it cook for about 3 minutes until the bottoms start to turn golden brown. Turn the meat over and cook about another 3 minutes until nicely browned. Remove the meat and put it in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate so it stays warm.
- Add to the pan about 1 tablespoon of the flour left from when you coated the meat. Cook the flour about three minutes until the whiteness is gone. Add the wine and lemon juice. Cook the sauce, stirring and scraping the bits from the pan for 2 to 3 minutes until it starts to thicken and doesn't look cloudy. Add the capers and stir. Add the meat and cook another minute or two on each side just to warm it.
- Serve. Move the meat to the serving plates, add the side dishes, and pour or spoon the sauce and capers over the meat. Garnish with fresh parsley and a lemon slice. If there's extra sauce, put it on the rice.
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