Chicken Piccata

by Lori on April 17, 2010

You just gotta!

You’re aware that I’ve been knee-deep in a school book fair that has provided me with no life for the past week and a half, right?  Well, it finally ended today.  But yesterday, I arrived home and needed a little food-love, so I embarked on an adventure I rarely undertake when my fatigue is at epic proportions and when it’s just me an my kids eating dinner.  I tried a brand new recipe for dinner knowing full-well that my children-with-picky-tendencies may be less than overjoyed that I was springing something new on them.  On a weeknight, no less.  I didn’t have a back-up plan either in case of a failure.  What was I thinking?  Clearly my judgment was clouded.  But I wanted something good to eat and I missed being in my kitchen.  I also had a lot of faith in the recipe, because how can you go wrong with chicken with a lemon, butter and wine sauce?

You can’t.

I started out with some gargantuan boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  I cut them in half, put each one in a ziploc bag and pounded them slightly.  You don’t have to do this, but I wanted a quick, even cooking time (emphasis on quick).  Dredge them in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.

Olive oil and butter into a large skillet.  This is always a good way to start.

Add the chicken, cook until golden brown and flip.

The color shouldn’t go much darker than this.  Probably 5 minutes per side for the pounded chicken breasts; about 10 minutes per side for a full-sized breast.

Remove chicken breasts. Set aside and keep warm.  Add sliced white mushrooms and capers to the skillet.

Lightly saute.  The recipe said the mushrooms and capers should be placed on top of the cooked chicken, taken off the heat and kept warm in the skillet.  I get all kinds of cranky if the mushrooms are not cooked, so I opted to switch it up a little to accommodate my own psychosis.

Then I put the chicken back into the skillet with the mushrooms and capers.  That’s better.

Now remove the skillet from the heat and keep warm.

Time to begin on the sauce.  Pour in the lemon juice.  I used Meyer lemons (because I got a bunch of them from a friend) and this is why the color of the juice is different compared to that of other lemons.

Add white wine and hold the measuring cup like you mean it.  I am not sure what I was doing with this odd way of holding the cup.  I need some stand-in hands or something.

Next up: chopped garlic.

And chopped shallots.  I love shallots.

Bring it all up to a boil.  Reduce heat a little and cook until it’s reduced by half.

Once the mixture has reduced, remove from the heat and begin adding butter, one tablespoon at a time, mixing well until melted.  In the fatigued state of my brain, I somehow thought 1/2 cup of butter (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) was half a stick of butter, so I was a bit surprised when the sauce wasn’t quite right after I’d put in the 4th tablespoon.  I kept adding butter by the tablespoon, mixing and tasting until I got it where I liked it.  I stopped at 6 tablespoons.  Depending on the type of lemon (Meyer or Eureka – the kind regularly found in stores), you may need the additional tablespoons of butter.  I used unsalted butter,because that’s all I had, and seasoned it with a little salt.  I didn’t get a final shot of the sauce but it will have a frothy look to it when all of the butter is in.

Pour some of the lemon sauce over the chicken.  Don’t be stingy, because if you happen to serve the chicken piccata with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese the flavor of the sauce will go well with those.  You need to get this in your mouth…quick.

No children were harmed by eating this meal.  One ate the chicken without mushrooms, capers or sauce and the other had it with mushrooms and sauce.  You’ve got options here if you have picky eaters.

Chicken Piccata

1/2 cup flour
White pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
9 tablespoons butter, divided
8 chicken breasts (or 4 large chicken breasts, cut in half and lightly pounded)
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup capers
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shallots

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or on a plate.  Dredge both sides of chicken breasts in flour mixture.
Heat 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken breasts and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side for lightly pounded chicken breasts and 10 minutes per side for full-sized chicken breasts.  Remove cooked chicken from skillet and set aside.  Add mushrooms and capers and lightly saute just until mushrooms begin to take on a little color.  Return chicken to skillet.  Remove skillet from heat and keep warm.
Bring lemon juice, wine, garlic and shallots to boil in a saucepan.  Simmer until reduced by half.  Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup butter (or to taste – I only used 6 tablespoons), 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until melted.  Keep warm.  To serve, pour sauce over chicken breasts.

(Recipe adapted from the Culinary SOS column of the Los Angeles Times who adapted it from The Revere House, a restaurant in Tustin, California.  I have no idea how old this recipe is as the yellowed newspaper clip is not dated, but I looked up the restaurant and it appears to still be in business.)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara April 27, 2010 at 2:15 am

Looks like you made excellent use of the Meyer lemons. I am going to make the Chicken Piccata
first. I love your blog–great pictures and I
especially like the way everything is explained in a step by step fashion.


Stacey April 27, 2010 at 9:56 pm

That looks sooo good!

A perfect recipe for "date night" with my Mother next week. Mother: hopefully you read this…can you make this for me next week…please?


Lemons and Lavender April 28, 2010 at 3:26 am

It was really yummy. I'm going to make it again tomorrow so I can use up some more lemons. If we were closer, I would make it for you!


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