Chicken picatta is one of the simpler ways to make a tasty chicken dish.  You only need a few ingredients, that are readily available, and the prep and cook time is pretty quick.  In this recipe video, I make my version the Italian classic.  The lemon juice and white wine give the sauce a nice tangy acidic taste, and the capers a good saltiness and a bit of texture.  Try serving this with some rice, or to keep with the Italian theme, try some polenta.

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

  • One of the most important things in any chicken recipe is to not overcook the chicken.  Over cooked chicken is dry, tough and unappreciated by your guests.  As I show you in the video, I like to pound the chicken flat, which makes it easier to cook quickly and keep juicy.  I’ll also show you the queues that tell you when it’s cooked right.
  • I like to coat my chicken breast in flour, as that gives the outside a bit of a crust, and the flour helps to thicken the sauce.  If you want to skip the flour, (which I’ve advised my gluten-free friends to do)  you absolutely can; but I think it’s better with that coating.  Make sure you pan is very hot or the flour won’t caramelize. 

Ingredients for Chicken Picatta (for 2)

  • Two chicken breasts
  • Flour to coat the chicken
  • One lemon
  • Half cup of white wine
  • Half cup chicken stock
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1.5 Tablespoons of capers
  • Tablespoon of parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter

Preparing the Chicken

  • As I show in the video, I’ve used chicken breasts, but there’s no reason you can’t use other cuts – chicken thighs would be great
  • I also like to pound out the chicken to make it more uniformly thin.  That makes the cooking a bit easier, and is more traditional.
  • To pound the chicken out, place the chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap that you’ve sprinkled some water on for lubrication
  • Using a “pounder” or anything with some heft to it (I like to use a wine bottle) gently start to pound on the chicken breast, starting at the thickest area.
  • I use light pressure at first, as it’s easy to use a bit more if you’re not making progress; it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort
  • I find it’s better to use a lot of light taps, than just a few hard ones, and as you continue to pound the chicken, moving from the thicker to the thinner parts, you’ll see the chicken spreading out
  • When you get to about a half inch thick, your done and you can do the remaining pieces
  • Once pounded out, season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, and then coat both sides in a dusting of flour

Making the Chicken Picatta

  • Heat a sauté pan until hot, and add olive oil to coat
  • Add the chicken and sear one side – in the video, I show how to tell when it’s time to flip the chicken
  • After 2 – 3 minutes, flip the chicken and sear on the other side until just cooked through, about another 1 – 2 depending on the thickness of the chicken
  • Remove the chicken and place in a warm area (like a 200 degree oven while you make the sauce)
  • Add a tablespoon of butter or olive oil to the pan, and the garlic and shallot and sauté over low heat until softened (about 2 minutes)
  • Add the lemon juice and white wine and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon.
  • Let the liquid reduce by half, and add in a half cup of chicken stock; again let the liquid reduce by half
  • Add the capers, and the butter over low heat and stir everything to blend it all together
  • Add the chicken back to the sauce to warm it for a few minutes.  Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve drizzling the sauce over the chicken

Hope you enjoy!!

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