Chicken cooked with lemon, capers, parsley and butter.

Chicken cooked with lemon, capers, parsley and butter. Credit: Marge Perry

This is one of those classic dishes you want in your repertoire. It is a crowd-pleaser that is fast and easy to make, and uses ingredients you are likely to have on hand. It is also a cinch to make a gluten free version: substitute rice flour for the all-purpose. And while we are on substitutions, if you’re not a fan of capers, leave them out, or replace them with asparagus tips.

Be sure your chicken cutlets are of a fairly even thickness. Use regular boneless breasts and halve them horizontally to make thinner cutlets, then use your hand to press down any of the thicker parts to make them even. Don’t use the “thinly sliced” cutlets, though — they are too thin and will be quite dry.

For a more assertive lemon flavor, use ¼ cup lemon juice. With more lemon, I tend to want more butter to counter the acidity. Use the recipe as a starting point, but experiment to find the balance you like best.

Chicken Piccata

3 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ¼ pounds boneless chicken breasts

3 tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup low sodium chicken stock

4-5 tablespoons butter, cut in approximately tablespoon-sized pieces

3 tablespoons drained capers

½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped

1. Combine the flour, salt and pepper on a plate.

2. Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to form thinner cutlets. Press down on the chicken to ensure each piece is of even thickness. Thoroughly dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the pieces of chicken, smooth side down and let them cook without moving them until the underside is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook another 2 minutes, until lightly browned on the underside. Transfer to a plate. (The chicken may not be cooked through by now).

4. Add the lemon juice and chicken stock to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Boil 5 minutes, until the mixture is slightly reduced and thickened. Swirl in the butter until it is melted. Stir in the capers. Return the chicken to the skillet and turn once to coat in the sauce. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the thickest part registers 160 degrees, another 2 to 3 minutes. To serve, spoon the pan sauces and capers over the chicken and sprinkle with the parsley.



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