Chicken piccata is a popular Italian American dish that features a quick pan-fried chicken breast in a wonderfully vibrant lemon caper sauce.
It is a recipe that is gloriously easy to cook, a bit of slicing and one pan gets you a centrepiece for a meal in well under 30 minutes.
White Wine, Lemon and Caper Chicken Breast
Chicken piccata recipe is simply a chicken breast, butterflied and then perfectly cooked in butter. You all know how I love butter, it is well documented here.
It is then rested whilst a pan sauce is made with wine, lemon juice, capers, garlic and shallots. Making sure that butter is put to good use.
It is a dish that pays more than a passing resemblance to the classic veal scallopini and it is much more popular in the US than it is in Italy.
Chicken has a wonderful affinity with sharp flavours. You will find examples of lemon chicken in dishes as far and wide as China to North Africa and Europe to the Americas. It just works!
I use it in recipes as diverse as my grilled lemon pepper chicken wings, preserved lemon chicken tray bake and Chinese crispy lemon chicken through to my simple garlic lemon chicken and creamy lemon chicken pasta recipes.
It is a wonderfully quick and easy recipe! Preparation takes a leisurely 10 minutes and cooking is all done and dusted in under 20.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use chicken thighs?
In theory yes but the cooking process will be longer because it is difficult to get nice evenly thick slices of chicken thigh.
If I were to use thighs or even whole legs I would sear them in an oven-proof pan, then transfer them to a moderate oven and cook them until they are done.
Whilst the chicken is resting you could then make the piccata sauce in the cooking pan as per my instructions.
What are capers?
Capers are the preserved bud of the flower from the caper ‘bush’. As bizarre as that sounds they are something that I get palpitations about not having in my store cupboard.
They can add a wonderful extra dimension to everything from sauces like my tuna Steak with a lemon caper sauce through to salads as in my tuna pasta salad with peas and even in my sardine and salmon fish cakes.
Do I have to use wine?
No, you can omit the wine and double up on the stock, but you might need to add a little more lemon juice to increase the acidity.
Can I make this in advance?
This dish does not really reheat very well because the chicken has a tendency to become tough and chewy.
Fortunately, it is a quick recipe that only takes 30 minutes of your time.
I have served my chicken piccata here with some simply boiled Chantenay carrots and asparagus. I cooked them in salty water until nicely al-dente and then tossed them through the piccata sauce.
Some simply boiled buttery herby new potatoes work wonderfully too.
You could also just go for a big hunk of crusty bread which to mop up that wonderful sauce!
I only name-check specific brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 30cm or 12″ frying pan or skillet.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
- Kitchen knife.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen tongs and serving spoons.
- Citrus zester.
This Chicken Piccata recipe is a perfect midweek lifesaver, fast and simple but with bucket loads of big zingy flavours but homely enough to feel familiar!
- 2 (350g total) Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1 (35g) Banana Shallot
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 75g (½ Cup) Capers
- 50g (3 Tbsp) Plain Flour
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 50g (3 Tbsp) Butter
- 1 Lemon
- 75ml (⅓ Cup) Dry White Wine
- 75ml (⅓ Cup) Chicken Stock
- 10g (¼-⅓ Cup) Parsley
- Cut the shallot in half, peel it and then dice it as finely as you can.
- Peel the garlic and then dice it as finely as you can.
- Zest the lemon.
- Cut the chicken breasts in half to create two thin "steaks" and bash them with a rolling pin just to even out the thickness, then season them with the salt and dredge them in the flour.
- Heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the olive oil and two-thirds of the butter.
- When the butter begins to foam add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes on one side then flip and give it an extra two minutes before removing in from the pan and allowing it to rest.
- Add the remaining butter to the pan and the garlic and shallots and cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.
- Pour in the white wine, chicken stock, lemon zest and juice from half of the lemon and whisk to form a nice emulsion.
- Throw in the parsley, stir and serve the sauce over the chicken.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 1728mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 23g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.