Chicken Piccata is classic dish that is easy enough for a weeknight meal yet elegant enough for a special occasion.
Tastebuds are a funny thing, at least mine are. Sometimes I get stuck on a certain flavor combination and I’m obsessed. Right now it’s everything lemon and capers. My infatuation was triggered by the Chicken Piccata served at one of our favorite restaurants, Marco Trattoria in Brevard, NC. Their Chicken Piccata is exceptional. The chicken is tender with the perfect sauce, a blend of butter, white wine, bright lemon and subtly salty capers.
It was the capers that caught my attention. I had never been a big fan of capers, but the ones served at Marco Trattoria are different. They’re more flavorful yet not as overpowering as other capers I had encountered. Since Marco Trattoria is over an hour away, I set out to perfect Chicken Piccata at home, beginning with hunting down the perfect capers.
First, I needed to dig around to figure out what makes one caper better than another. Apparently, capers are packed in vinegar, salt brine or salt. I also learned that capers and caper berries are two different things. True capers are the buds grown on a caper bush. But, if you don’t pick the buds and allow them to mature, they produce a caper berry. It’s the latter, caper berries, that I don’t prefer. True capers, the bud part of the plant, are quite delicious, in my opinion. Like many foods, it comes down to personal preference. However, for Chicken Piccata or other similar dishes, I would recommend using true capers and not caper berries. Read more about capers and caper berries over at The City Cook.
This Chicken Piccata Recipe is a basic approach to the classic dish. First, butterfly and pound the chicken breasts, then dredge them in flour and pan fry until golden. Then, make a light sauce with the pan drippings, white wine, shallots, chicken broth, capers, lemon juice, fresh parsley and a bit more butter. Then add the chicken back into the sauce to coat all sides and served warm. Mercy, it’s delicious! It’s a dish that everyone should know how to prepare and once you do it will be one you return to often. It’s simple enough for a weeknight meal, yet sophisticated enough for a special occasion.
How To Make Chicken Piccata Recipe
A classic Italian recipe of lightly breaded chicken in a white wine lemon caper sauce.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast butterflied and pounded thin
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1/4 chopped fresh parsley
- Heat skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter and warm to a ripple. Test with a pinch of flour to see if it sizzles.
- Whisk together flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish.
- Lightly dredge chicken breast in flour; tap of excess. Add to skillet. Work in batches if needed, cook about 3 minutes each side until done and golden, adding more oil and butter as needed. Remove chicken and place on paper-towel lined plate. Cover.
- Add wine and minced shallot to skillet scraping any bits from bottom of pan, stir for 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, capers and fresh parsley, stirring occasionally, bring to a simmer and simmer for 4-5 more minutes. Sauce should reduce and slightly thicken. Whisk in 1 tablespoon butter until smooth.
- Add cooked chicken back to pan coating both sides with sauce. Serve warm.