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Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata
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# 1 Candidate for Dinner any night this week

Chris Morocco, Food Analyst at Bon Appetit

This recipe is amazingly easy to put together and quick to cook.  That makes it a candidate for any weeknight dinner you have this week.  And I even found a hack that made it even easier. The original recipe came from Bon Appetit’s Chris Morocco. His boss, Adam Rapoport calls him ‘the most analytical of Bon Appetit’s Kitchen team’.  I don’t know how much analysis was necessary to make this dish but he did succeed in capturing the perfect ‘piccata’.  Slices of chicken breast are dredged in flour, sautéed in butter and then added to a lemony-buttery pan sauce to which capers and garlic have been added.  The result is a perfectly cooked piece of chicken breast bathed in an irresistibly tangy sauce.

Piccata by any other name is still Piccata

Despite looking like a map of Australia, this is Veal Piccata.
Pesce Spada con Capperi e Limone–the Swordfish version of Piccata

Chicken Piccata is another American take on an Italian classic. Piccata de vitello al limone or Veal Piccata, is much more common on menus and in home kitchens in Italy.  The word Piccata means ‘larded’ in Italian but its roots are the French word “Piqué” (sharp as in piquant). When it comes to food, piccata refers to a method of preparing meat or fish that is sliced, sautéed and served in a sauce containing lemon, butter, and spices. In Milano, you’ll find it used for swordfish too and called “Pesce Spada con Capperi e Limone”. When it crossed the Atlantic, far less expensive and more readily available chicken was pressed into service.

Making this recipe even easier, this hack:

Now about my hack. The original recipe called for two large skinless chicken breasts to be halved. And then pounded to an even thickness of about ½ inch.  When I pound anything in our New York City kitchen, I am truly concerned that the neighbors will call the cops convinced there’s some violence going on behind closed doors.  So I was more than happy to discover that Trader Joe’s (and likely a lot of other grocery stores) sell Boneless, Skinless, Thin-Sliced Chicken breasts.  It doesn’t lop off significant prep time but it does keep the cops at bay. Here’s the recipe as originally written. Your call as to the chicken breasts.

Here’s the recipe and after it, a couple of other Italian American Classics

Chicken Piccata

January 13, 2020
: 2
: 5 min
: 10 min
: 15 min
: Easy

Slices of chicken dredged in flour, sauteed in butter and smothered in a tany lemon-butter pan sauce. The quickest Italian American entree we can think of.


  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp. drained capers, coarsely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Chopped parsley and lemon wedges (for serving)
  • Step 1 Slice chicken breasts in half crosswise into 4 cutlets and lightly pound each piece between sheets of plastic wrap until an even thickness (about ½” thick or less). Season lightly with salt. Place flour in a medium shallow bowl. Working one at a time, place cutlets in bowl and toss to coat in flour. Knock off excess flour and transfer to a plate.
  • Step 2 Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Working in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding the pan, cook cutlets, without moving them, until deeply browned underneath, about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side just until chicken is nearly cooked through, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a clean plate.
  • Step 3 Add garlic and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to the skillet and cook, stirring often and reducing heat if needed to keep garlic from scorching, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add wine and capers and cook, swirling pan and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of skillet, until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add ½ cup water, followed by the butter. Swirl pan vigorously while butter melts to help it form an emulsion with water, about 1 minute.
  • Step 4 Return chicken to skillet, add lemon juice and simmer until chicken is warmed through.  Season with salt. Transfer chicken and sauce to a platter and top with parsley, serve with lemon wedges.

Honey Pine-Nut Tart from Gina De Palma’s “Dolce Italiano”

Shrimp Scampi, an amazingly fast Italian American Classic and the story of the Feast of the 7 Fishes.

Fish in Crazy Water and a tribute to the woman who introduced me to it and countless other Italian recipes, Marcella Hazan


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4 thoughts on “Chicken Piccata”

    • Dear Mike, I must apologize to you and I also thank you for pointing out this very obvious mistake. I have amended the recipe thanks to you and it now read ‘until chicken is warmed through’. Again, apologies and thanks, Monte

  • Monte—I didn’t put the lemon juice in because it wasn’t in the directions! I totally screwed it up, and it was kind of bland minus the lemon juice. I know it has lemon juice because I have made this dish before! Please amend your recipe to include the lemon juice! Thanks!

    • Dear Marie, I am sick about this. I send you my apologies for this terrible omission. While the quantity (2 tbsp.) was listed in the ingredients, it somehow never made it into the instructions. I have of course made the correction to the recipe but that is of absolutely no help to you. Please forgive me and I truly thank you for pointing out this essential error. Sincerely, Monte

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