Chicken Piccata

Knowing that we had leftover wild rice and salad fixings in the refrigerator, I decided to whip up an easy chicken recipe for dinner tonight. I turned to a classic favorite, the New Best Recipe cookbook, and found a traditional chicken piccata recipe that didn’t look too heavy. I picked up some Marin Sun Farms chicken breasts and went to work as soon as Alex headed home. The dish came together in less than 15 minutes and was a delightful surprise. I can’t remember the last time I was so excited about chicken breasts! I rarely buy them because I much prefer roasting the entire bird for a more flavorful dinner (and then you get stock too) but I can easily see adding this into the monthly rotation.

Chicken Piccata (serves 4)

2 large lemons
6 boneless chicken breasts (5-6 ounces each), tenderloins removed, fat trimmed (I pounded mine with a meat tenderizer to get thinner cutlets)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup bleached all purpose flour
4 TB veggie oil
1 small shallot or garlic clove, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 TB small capers, rinsed
3 TB butter, softened
2 TB fresh parsley leaves, minced

1) Heat oven to 200 degrees and put a heatproof serving plate on the lower rack.

2) Halve one lemon pole to pole. Trim the ends from one half and cut it crosswise into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick; set aside. Juice the remaining half and whole lemon to obtain 1/4 cup lemon juice.

3) Sprinkle both sides of the cutlets with salt and pepper. Measure the flour into a shallow baking dish and coat each cutlet with flour and then shake off the excess.

4) Heat 2 TB oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Saute two cutlets until lightly browned on the first side, about 2-3 minutes. Turn and cut until the second side is lightly browned, 2-3 minutes longer. Remove the cutlets from the pan and place in the pre-heated plate in the oven to keep warm. Add 2 TB veggie oil to the skillet and brown the remaining cutlets.

5) Add the shallot/garlic to the empty skillet and return the skillet to medium heat. Saute until fragrant (about 10-30 seconds max). Add the broth and lemon slices and increase the heat to high. Scrape the brown bits with a wooden spoon and simmer until the liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice and rinsed capers and simmer until the sauce reduces to 1/3 cup, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the butter until it melts and thickens the sauce. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.