Chicken Piccata Recipe
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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 local restaurants, Marco Trattoria in Brevard, NC. Their Chicken Piccata is exceptional, or should I say “was” exceptional since it has been removed from their menu. The chicken was 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 removed it from their menu, I set out to perfect Chicken Piccata right 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.
How to Make Chicken Piccata
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 serve warm.
Mercy, it’s incredibly delicious! Piccata is 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.
Other chicken dishes you will enjoy:
- Easy Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
- Easy Chicken Parmesan Recipe
- Chicken Marsala Recipe
- Honey Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs Recipe
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.
It looks great, indeed! I should definitely try such chicken dish 🙂
I love chicken piccata and my recipe is missing the shallot so I’ll add that next time. Mainly I was thrilled to get the capers lesson! I have always been confused as to what in the heck a caper really is! I love your blog and try many of your recipes! We should get together again!
We definitely need to get together soon, Deby! Miss y’all! xoxo
I’d like to suggest a substitution for the butterflied chicken breasts. Lately, I’ve been using pounded chicken tenders. There IS that gross looking tendon. Most of it can be trimmed with poultry shears and the rest just disappears when the chicken is cooked. When you pound the tenders, they look like a pretty good sized portion. I think I fool myself, my family and our dinner guests into thinking they are eating a lot more then they actually are.
Chicken tenders are a great substitute idea, Toby!
I made this exactly as directed, and t was wonderful. The gentleman in the meat department of my grocery store will put the chicken breasts through the tenderizer when asked. It makes things a lot easier. We buy several for the freezer when they go on sale.
Happy to hear you enjoyed it, Leslie. And thank you for the tip on the chicken breasts tenderizer. I will certainly be asking the meat department about that!
When a recipe calls for white wine can you use either cooking white wine or do you need to use a drinking wine? I love capers & I’m always amazed when people don’t know about capers or have never tried them. Can you buy good capers at your regular grocery or do you need to go to a higher end more specialized market?
Linda, you may use cooking white wine. It will have a slightly different flavor but it is fine. I have found good capers at a specialty store but ordered our last batch online through Amazon.
The only time I ever had capers was at a dinner party. No one had ever heard of capers much less eaten them including the hostess!! We decided they must be strictly for garnish because they didn’t taste that great and they don’t look very appealing, either.
This was very good and made a nice change from the ordinary weekday meal.
What is the best kind of pan to cook these in?
Tried yours and it went awesome!!! Now I will add white wine whenever I make this dish 🙂
Chicken piccata is my signature dish and I have literally made it probably a hundred times. However, I see that this recipe, it’s written, does not include any garlic or sliced lemons. The most delicious thing about my version is that I caramelize onion slices in the butter and olive oil and drippings. I add about three cloves of minced garlic at the time you would put in the shallot ( and yes I use shallots in my recipe too) And another clove finally minced or grated with the final garnish. I always serve mine with fettuccine drizzled with olive oil salt, plenty of fresh ground pepper, and more minced parsley. From one chicken piccata lover to another, bon appetit!