Classic Chicken Piccata For A Special Dinner

Looking to impress your loved ones with a special dinner? Look no further than this mouth-watering recipe for classic chicken piccata. Tender chicken breasts are cooked to perfection and then bathed in a savory sauce made from tangy lemon juice, rich butter, and flavorful capers. The result is a perfectly balanced dish that is both elegant and delicious. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want to treat yourself, this classic chicken piccata is sure to please.

Classic Chicken Piccata For A Special Dinner

Ingredients

Chicken breast

Chicken breast is the main ingredient in chicken piccata. It is a lean and versatile cut of meat that is tender and juicy when cooked properly. Make sure to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe.

All-purpose flour

Flour is used to coat the chicken before cooking, giving it a crispy and golden crust. All-purpose flour works well for this purpose.

Salt

Salt is an essential seasoning that enhances the flavors of the chicken and other ingredients in the dish. Use it to season the chicken, the flour, and the sauce.

Black pepper

Black pepper adds a subtle heat and depth of flavor to the dish. Use freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor.

Olive oil

Olive oil is used for sautéing the chicken and for making the piccata sauce. It adds a rich and fruity flavor to the dish.

Butter

Butter is added to the skillet along with the olive oil to brown the chicken. It adds a luscious richness and flavor to the dish.

Garlic

Garlic is used to add a savory and aromatic element to the piccata sauce. It adds depth and complexity to the dish.

Chicken broth

Chicken broth is the base of the piccata sauce. It provides moisture and flavor to the dish.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is the star ingredient in chicken piccata. It adds a tangy and bright flavor that complements the savory and rich flavors of the dish.

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Capers

Capers are small, tangy, and briny flower buds that add a unique and distinctive flavor to the dish. They add a burst of flavor and texture to the piccata sauce.

Fresh parsley

Fresh parsley is used as a garnish to add a pop of freshness and color to the finished dish. It adds a subtle herbaceous flavor as well.

Preparation

Flatten and season the chicken breast

Before cooking, it is important to pound the chicken breast to an even thickness. This ensures that it cooks evenly and results in a tender and juicy final dish. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to enhance the flavors.

Coat the chicken in flour

Coating the chicken in flour helps to create a crispy and golden crust when it is cooked. Before coating, make sure to shake off any excess flour to avoid a heavy coating.

Sear the chicken

Searing the chicken in a hot skillet with a combination of olive oil and butter creates a beautiful brown crust on the outside. This step adds flavor and helps to seal in the juices, resulting in moist and flavorful chicken.

Make the piccata sauce

After cooking the chicken, remove it from the skillet and set it aside. In the same skillet, melt butter and sauté minced garlic until fragrant. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, and capers to the skillet and bring it to a simmer. Allow the sauce to thicken slightly before adding the chicken back to the skillet.

Add the chicken back to the skillet

Return the cooked chicken to the skillet and coat it in the piccata sauce. This step allows the chicken to absorb the flavors of the sauce and ensures that it is heated through before serving.

Garnish and serve

Once the chicken is coated in the piccata sauce, it is ready to be garnished with fresh parsley. The parsley adds a touch of freshness and visual appeal to the dish. Serve the chicken piccata with your choice of side dishes and enjoy!

Step-by-step Instructions

Step 1: Flatten and season the chicken breast

Take a chicken breast and place it between two pieces of plastic wrap or in a resealable plastic bag. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.

Step 2: Coat the chicken in flour

Place all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl or plate. Dredge the seasoned chicken in the flour, making sure to shake off any excess flour. Set the coated chicken aside.

Step 3: Sear the chicken

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a combination of olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted and the skillet is hot, carefully add the coated chicken to the skillet. Cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until it is golden brown and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.

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Step 4: Make the piccata sauce

In the same skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in chicken broth, lemon juice, and capers. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened.

Step 5: Add the chicken back to the skillet

Return the cooked chicken to the skillet and coat it in the piccata sauce. Cook the chicken for an additional minute or two, until it is heated through and fully coated in the sauce.

Step 6: Garnish and serve

Sprinkle fresh parsley over the chicken piccata as a final garnish. Serve the chicken with your choice of side dishes, such as pasta, mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, steamed vegetables, or crusty bread. Enjoy!

Tips for Success

Pound the chicken evenly

When pounding the chicken, make sure to apply even pressure to avoid any uneven thickness. This ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and results in a tender and juicy final dish.

Use a mix of olive oil and butter for browning

Combining olive oil and butter in the skillet provides the best of both worlds – the rich flavor of butter and the higher smoke point of olive oil. This combination helps to achieve a beautiful brown crust on the chicken.

Don’t overcrowd the pan

When cooking the chicken, make sure to leave some space between each piece in the skillet. Overcrowding the pan can prevent the chicken from browning evenly and may result in a steamed rather than crispy crust.

Adjust the lemon juice and capers to taste

The amount of lemon juice and capers used in the recipe can be adjusted to suit your personal taste preferences. If you prefer a more tangy and briny flavor, feel free to add more lemon juice and capers. If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the amount accordingly.

Top with fresh parsley for added freshness

Garnishing the chicken piccata with fresh parsley adds a pop of freshness and color to the dish. It also adds a subtle herbaceous flavor that complements the tangy and savory flavors of the piccata sauce.

Classic Chicken Piccata For A Special Dinner

Serving Suggestions

Pasta

Chicken piccata pairs well with various types of pasta, such as spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine. The creamy and tangy sauce coats the pasta beautifully, creating a delicious and satisfying meal.

Mashed potatoes

Creamy mashed potatoes make a comforting and hearty side dish for chicken piccata. The rich and savory flavors of the piccata sauce complement the creamy potatoes wonderfully.

Rice pilaf

The light and lemony flavors of chicken piccata work well with fluffy and fragrant rice pilaf. The piccata sauce can be spooned over the rice for an extra burst of flavor.

Steamed vegetables

For a healthy and refreshing side dish, serve chicken piccata with a medley of steamed vegetables. Broccoli, carrots, and green beans are great options that add color and texture to the meal.

Crusty bread

Crusty bread is a simple and satisfying accompaniment to chicken piccata. Use it to soak up the flavorful piccata sauce and enjoy the contrasting textures.

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Pairing Wine

Sauvignon Blanc

The crisp and refreshing flavors of Sauvignon Blanc complement the tartness of the lemon juice in the chicken piccata. Its lively acidity and citrus notes make it an excellent choice for this dish.

Chardonnay

A buttery and oaky Chardonnay can enhance the creamy flavors of the piccata sauce while complementing the richness of the chicken. Look for a lightly oaked or unoaked Chardonnay for a balanced pairing.

Pinot Grigio

The light and zesty flavors of Pinot Grigio pair well with the tangy and savory flavors of chicken piccata. Its citrus and floral notes make it an ideal choice for this dish.

Dry Riesling

A dry Riesling offers a slightly sweet and fruity profile that can complement the tanginess of the piccata sauce. Its vibrant acidity helps to cut through the richness of the dish.

Classic Chicken Piccata For A Special Dinner

Variations

Veal piccata

For a more luxurious and tender alternative, veal can be used instead of chicken in the recipe. The cooking process remains the same, but veal tends to cook slightly faster.

Shrimp piccata

Shrimp can be substituted for chicken to create a seafood twist on the classic dish. Cook the shrimp just until they turn pink and opaque, as overcooking can lead to a rubbery texture.

Salmon piccata

Salmon piccata is another delicious variation that combines the rich and buttery flavors of salmon with the tangy and savory piccata sauce. The cooking time for salmon may vary depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Vegetarian piccata with tofu

For a vegetarian option, replace the chicken with firm tofu. Press and drain the tofu before slicing it into pieces and following the recipe as instructed. The tofu will absorb the flavors of the piccata sauce beautifully.

Healthier Options

Baked chicken piccata

To reduce the amount of oil used in the recipe, you can bake the chicken instead of searing it in a skillet. Place the coated chicken on a baking sheet and bake it in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 20-25 minutes, or until it is cooked through.

Gluten-free chicken piccata

To make the dish gluten-free, use a gluten-free flour or a combination of gluten-free flours to coat the chicken. Make sure to check that all other ingredients, such as the chicken broth and the capers, are also gluten-free.

Low-sodium chicken piccata

If you are watching your sodium intake, use low-sodium chicken broth and reduce the amount of salt added to the recipe. You can also omit the capers if you prefer a lower sodium content.

Lightened-up piccata sauce

To reduce the calorie and fat content of the piccata sauce, you can use a combination of low-fat chicken broth, reduced-fat butter, and less olive oil in the recipe. This modification reduces the overall richness of the dish while still maintaining its delicious flavors.

Classic Chicken Piccata For A Special Dinner

Make-Ahead and Storage

Prep the chicken in advance

You can flatten and season the chicken breasts in advance and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. This step saves time when cooking and allows the flavors to develop.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, gently warm the chicken and sauce in a skillet over low heat until heated through.

Freeze for future meals

Chicken piccata can be frozen for future meals. Allow the cooked dish to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Conclusion

Classic chicken piccata is a versatile and delicious dish that is perfect for special dinners. With its tangy and savory flavors, it is sure to impress your guests. Feel free to customize the recipe to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Whether served with pasta, potatoes, or vegetables, it is a timeless classic that never disappoints. Enjoy the vibrant flavors and the joy of sharing this delightful meal with loved ones.

Classic Chicken Piccata For A Special Dinner