I'm posting this a week late. My intention was to post this in honor of Sean's 40th birthday. Extra Lemony Chicken Piccata is probably his favorite thing I make. It has to be extra lemony! It's not a hard dish to make, but it takes a little time and is notorious for making a mess on my stove from spitting oil (nothing dangerous, I just can't seem to contain it!), so it's more of a special dish. Although I make it on weeknights almost exclusively, I know it needs times and attention to make and it makes that evening, even if it's just a normal Tuesday, feel a little more special.
If you've never had chicken piccata, it's an Italian dish of dredged chicken (or veal) cutlets, lightly browned in olive oil then bathed in the most luxurious lemon-butter sauce with capers. The capers are really what put this over the top and make this dish complete with their salty, briney deliciousness. The ingredients are minimal, but the result is something profoundly delicious.
Sean LOVES lemon, so my recipe is extra lemony. If you get chicken piccata in a restaurant, it probably won't be quite as tart as mine. If you're sensitive to citrus or tartness, then I suggest cutting back a bit on the lemon. It will be just at delicious - just adjust it to your personal tastes.
If you're looking for something special to make, this is your ticket. Just don't make it right after you've perfectly shined up your stovetop :)
Extra Lemony Chicken Piccata
Makes ~ 4 servings
Prep time: 5-10 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes
Click the file below to download and print the recipe
I recommend reading the recipe all the way through, including the recipe notes at the bottom, before you start cooking.
1.5lbs. chicken breast cutlets (or regular chicken breasts butterflied, cut in half, and pounded thin) - 4 pieces total
3/4 C. flour
4 TB butter
1/2 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)*
1/2 C. chicken broth
2-3 TB capers**
Add the flour and 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper into a gallon-sized zip top bag. Mix around to incorporate evenly. Alternatively, use a wide bowl instead of a bag.
Sprinkle both sides of all of the chicken with salt and pepper then dredge the chicken by adding the chicken to the bag with the flour, sealing the top, and shaking the bag around until the surface of all of the chicken is coated in flour. You can do this in two stages if you'd like.
Using tongs, remove the chicken from the bag to a sheet tray or plate, shaking off excess flour.
Heat 2 TB of butter and 2 TB of olive oil in a large pan*** over medium heat until the butter is melted. When the butter/oil mixture is hot, add the chicken and cook until the flour coating is golden brown. Flip and repeat. When you flip the chicken, add another tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Each side should take 5 minutes or so. If the oil is spitting a lot or the bottom of the pan is burning, turn the heat down to low. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan.
Once the chicken is browned, remove it to a plate (or better yet a cooling rack over a sheet tray) Make sure this is a clean plate from the one the raw chicken was on.
Turn the pan to low (if it's not already) and slowly add in the lemon juice, chicken broth, and capers, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat up slightly so the liquid comes to a simmer and allow to reduce slightly (about 3 minutes). Carefully taste to check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as desired.
Add the final tablespoon of butter and stir to melt. Add the chicken back to the pan, submerging it into the sauce. Allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes, then flip and simmer an additional 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
Serve with pasta, mashed potatoes, or polenta, spooning extra sauce and capers over top.
*Recipe notes + Variations*
*If you are sensitive to citrus or tartness, you can use less lemon juice.
**Spoon the capers directly from the jar. A little of the briney juice is ok to add. Definitely do not rinse them!