After having written this post I realized that this recipe is very similar to one I wrote two weeks ago for whiting fish in a mustard, lemon, and parsley sauce. I guess this means I am in a lemon-and-parsley kind of mood lately – hopefully you are too. Truth be told, it is also thanks to a reader from California, who asked me if I knew a good chicken piccata recipe, that I decided to bust out a version I made once or twice for my dad (a lover of this recipe, especially when made with thinly pounded veal), and I am happy to be re-introduced to this easy and delicious staple.
For this particular recipe I did what I like to do best, which is invite over some cobailles, or guinea pigs, to test the recipe out before publishing it here. Et voilà, quelle joie de voir leurs bonnes réponses à propos de cette recette! Bref, my willing friends (thanks Erin and Sophie) confirmed what I was hoping to hear: this recipe is extremely fast to put together (less than 20 minutes, honest!) and packs a lot of fantastic flavor in just a few ingredients. My chicken piccata sauce came out very green, but that is because of my firm belief in doubling the amount of herbs in almost any recipe - they can only add to the depth of flavor, and I follow the reasoning that if I’m already chopping then I may as well go the whole nine yards and chop a lot. However, if you are not like me and don’t enjoy running your knife (which is hopefully very sharp and large) through a seemingly endless pile of parsley, there is another solution: stem your parsley leaves, place them in a high-rimmed glass cup, and cut them up with scissors! You will get good results with a lot less work. Or, you can be like me and enjoy this type of torture. C’est comme vous voulez.
A quick note on butter: butter is a high-fat pleasure that adds fragrance, flavor, and richness to any food it touches. We all know the satisfaction of walking into a kitchen and smelling the nutty and delicious smell that butter gives off once it begins to brown in a skillet – it’s almost as amazing as waking up to the smell of bacon (I have yet to think of anything that smells better, except maybe freshly brewed coffee in the morning -I’d love to hear your ideas on this matter). However, I have a sister who is the star of my life (she works – get ready for a blatant plug – at the Daily Meal, a new and thorough food website, started by the ex-forbes.com CEO), and this wonderful relation of mine has had high cholesterol since about age 14, and has since then been denied the privilege of guiltlessly indulging in butter-drenched delices. Because of dietary restrictions implemented on her at a very early age, I also grew up understanding the risks involved in consuming food with a high saturated fat content. Why am I telling you this? To explain what I could have said in about a dozen words: if you want to substitute the butter in this recipe for olive oil, you can.
If you’re lucky enough to enjoy fatty food without significant consequences, then I implore you to make the recipe as I did and as written, which is still light and healthy. And if you do try it, please let me know how it comes out – I think I can say with confidence that you will surprise yourself by your cooking skills, and you will see how easy it is to prepare delicious food.
Chicken Piccata – serves 1
1 skinless and boneless chicken breast, cut in half or pounded thinly
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Place some flour in a shallow bowl, and dredge the chicken to coat with flour.
2. Heat half the butter in a small or medium skillet over medium heat (big enough to hold the chicken). Once hot, add the breast and cook until done, about 4 minutes on each side. Set aside on a plate.
3. Heat olive oil in the same skillet. Add the lemon juice, capers, and chicken stock, and stir to combine. Add chicken back to the skillet, and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in parsley and remaining half of butter. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.