Carb Diva's Chicken Piccata
I love the taste of lemon. It's such a clean, bright flavor.
And lemon makes me think of summer—lemonade, lemon meringue pie, lemon bar cookies, lemon in salads and sauces.
And lemon with chicken, specifically chicken piccata.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half (see note below)
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- flour, for dredging (see note below for explanation)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
How (and Why) to Butterfly a Chicken Breast
"Butterflying" is a butchering technique that will give you a thin, quick-to-cook piece of chicken. In this recipe you have two chicken breast halves. By butterflying and then cutting in half you will have 4 thin chicken breast portions.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge (see note below) with flour and shake off excess.
- Place 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Melt over medium-high heat. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.
- Melt 2 more tablespoons of butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in the same manner as described above. Remove your pan from the heat and place the chicken on the plate.
- In the same pan add the lemon juice, broth, and capers. Return to the stove and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Taste for seasoning.
- Return all chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a platter. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.
What is Dredging?
In cooking, the word dredge means to coat an item of food in flour or breadcrumbs before cooking it. In this recipe, you are coating the butterflied chicken breast halves so that when they are sautéed they will quickly become golden brown with crisp edges.
- If you do not add a coating of flour, your chicken will be cooked but pale, or golden but dry and overcooked.
- Do not dredge the chicken and let it sit—the flour will become sticky and pasty. Dredge only when you are ready to cook.
- Do not allow a heavy coating of flour—gently pat the chicken pieces to remove the excess flour. You want a very light dusting of flour.
- And please throw away the flour that does not adhere to the chicken. Do not return it to your container of flour.
Why This Recipe Works
- Chicken breasts are low in fat and high in protein.
- Butterflying the chicken makes the portions thin, so they cook quickly.
- Citrus provides a bright flavor which means that you can use less salt (you won't miss it a bit).
- Capers have a briny tang.
- Parsley adds color and contrast.
© 2014 Linda Lum