Chicken Piccata is a quick meal that is perfect for busy weeknights. You can put it together in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Most of the ingredients are probably in your fridge and pantry already.
Chicken Piccata is made with slices of chicken breast floured and sautéed in butter and olive oil with chopped shallots. Some cooks might choose to leave out the shallot but I personally think its mild flavor makes Chicken Piccata taste amazing.
The Chicken Piccata is a different version of the original Italian piccata recipe that is made with veal. However considering the price difference between veal and chicken and also the fact that fresh chicken breast is conveniently available in every neighborhood supermarket, this is a much more economical and practical meal for an everyday cook.
Boneless skinless chicken breast is used here and though most recipes call for pounding it, I simply slice the chicken horizontally in half and this makes it thin enough to cook in just a few minutes and the texture is tender and juicy.
There is also a choice between using chicken broth or white wine. I have cooked the Chicken Piccata with both and I feel that the chicken broth tastes better and richer. This will depend on your preference and like most ingredients one must try cooking with both to see which is better. As for the side dishes, both pasta and wild rice go very well with Chicken Piccata; I have made simple Butter Noodles with whole grain thin spaghetti. I have chosen Garlic Spinach for the vegetable side because it is very easy and delicious, but again you may choose any steamed or sauteed vegetable you like.
Slice the chicken breast in half horizontally, sprinkle with salt and pepper then drench both sides in flour and set aside and start cooking the sides.
To cook the Buttered Noodles, cook the thin spaghetti in salted water until al dente (tender but firm). Drain it in a colander and return the cooked pasta back to the stockpot and toss with butter and finely chopped parsley. Sprinkle more salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Keep warm
To make the Garlic Spinach, saute the sliced garlic over low heat in butter so it does not brown. The low heat infuses butter with garlic flavor. Then add a little bit of salt and the baby spinach; toss a bit until the spinach wilts. Keep warm until the chicken is ready.
Heat one tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a large nonstick pan and brown the chicken pieces on one side, then turn and brown the other side. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Add chicken broth to the same skillet and use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom to mix the drippings with the broth. Bring the broth to a boil briefly to reduce it, then add fresh lemon juice and capers. Bring it to another boil to make a sauce. Add the tablespoon of cold butter to the skillet and stir vigorously until the butter melts and makes the sauce creamier. Add the browned chicken to the skillet and cook for couple of minutes. Turn the pieces several times so the sauce coats them nicely.
To serve, spoon some of the sauce over each chicken piece and Enjoy! Chicken Piccata can be a quick dinner for any busy night of the week, but it is also impressive enough for more formal occasions.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
- FOR THE CHICKEN PICCATA
- 2 boneless skinless chicken halves (about 1 ¼ pounds)
- ½ cup flour
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper for sprinkling on the chicken pieces
- ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
- 2 TBSP butter, divided
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 TBSP capers in brine (drained)
- FOR THE BUTTER NOODLES
- 6 ounces whole grain or regular thin spaghetti
- 2 TBSP butter
- 1 TBSP finely chopped fresh parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- FOR THE GARLIC SPINACH
- 1 TBSP butter
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
- ⅛-1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 8 ounces baby spinach, washed and drained very well
- Trim all the fat from the chicken breasts; wash then pat dry with a paper towel. Place one chicken half on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to slice the chicken in half horizontally. Repeat with the other chicken breast. Now you have 4 fillets of chicken breast.
- Add ½ cup flour to a plate.
- Lightly sprinkle each side of the breast pieces with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Add the chicken breast slices to the plate and drench with flour generously, then turn and coat the other side. Set aside and prepare the side dishes.
- To make the Butter Noodles, cook the thin spaghetti noodles in salted water in a stockpot until al dente (tender but firm). Drain in a colander and return back into the stockpot. Toss with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley. Add kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Keep warm.
- To make the Garlic Spinach, wash the baby spinach and then drain it thoroughly. Melt 1 tablespoon butter over low heat. Add the sliced garlic and stir for 2 minutes. The garlic should not brown. Add salt and baby spinach. Increase the heat to medium low and toss to coat the leaves with garlic butter for another minute, or just until they wilt. Turn off the heat and keep warm..
- To cook the Chicken Piccata, heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the chopped shallots and flour coated chicken breasts. Increase the heat to medium high and saute about 5 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown on one side. Turn the pieces with a spatula and saute the other side for another 3 minutes, or until no longer pink in the inside and golden brown on the outside . Remove the chicken pieces from the skillet and keep warm.
- Add ½ cup chicken broth to the skillet and scrape down the sides and bottom of the skillet to mix the drippings with the broth. Boil over medium high for about 2 minutes to reduce the sauce.
- Add lemon juice and capers to the skillet and bring it to another boil. Add 1 tablespoon cold butter and stir vigorously until it melts. Add the cooked chicken and continue cooking over medium heat for 2 more minutes. Turn chicken pieces a few times to make sure all are evenly coated with the sauce.
- Transfer 1-2 pieces of Chicken Piccata per person to serving plates. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with a side of Garlic Spinach and Butter Noodles.