Lemon, butter, and capers: What's not to love?
Chicken Piccata is one of our favorite Italian recipes. It combines rich butter with acidic lemons and salty capers, creating a sauce that’s so delicious you’ll want to lick the plate! It’s comforting and delightful, although it’s usually not very healthy. In Italy, they usually use veal instead of lean chicken, and the sauce contains an abundance of butter to make everything soft and rich. We love how simple it is to cook this dish and how quickly the prep comes together, so we wanted to make a healthier version for weeknight dinners.
With this lightened-up version, we tried to take away as much butter as we could without losing its prominent soft taste in the overall dish. We couldn’t remove all the butter, because the butter mixed with the acidity of the lemon gives this dish its particular identity. Then, in place of the usual addition of wine, we swapped in low sodium chicken broth. Its overall taste is still the same Chicken Piccata that we all love and enjoy!
What’s Not to Love About Capers?
As a salt lover, I’m definitely a big fan of capers. Many people find their flavor overpowering, though, so we wanted to give you a tip for making them appealing to a wider audience. If you drain the capers from the brine and rinse them under cold, running water, you’ll remove a lot of the salt content. Most people find rinsed capers much more flavorful than the ones that come right out of the jar because they can taste more than just salt.
Along with packing a punch of salty flavor, capers also bring a great texture to this dish. They create a beautiful contrast against the soft, breaded chicken while also helping to balance out the richness of the sauce. If you’re not a fan of capers, give our trick a try. Combining capers with chopped parsley and lemon zest is another secret to make them taste better.
Serving Chicken Piccata
Honestly, this dish doesn’t need much! Sometimes, we like serving Chicken Piccata on top of whole-wheat pasta. Other times, we’ll serve it as-is with a healthy side of vegetables. No matter how you choose to serve it up, make sure you spoon three full tablespoons of that delicious sauce over the top of the chicken when it’s on the plate. The sauce is the best part, so don’t skimp!
For the wine lovers amongst us, a glass of full-bodied, dry white wine with slight aging in wood or on the lees can go deliciously well with the prominent acidity of the sauce. When white wine is aged, it gives a big structure of creaminess and complexities in the nose and in the palate as well as persistence in the mouth. You can also pair this with a medium structured red wine. But, truth be told, we prefer a full-bodied, dry white wine. Go for wines made of Chardonnay, Timorasso (an autochthonous white Italian grape), Roero Arneis, or Fiano.
Chicken Piccata Dinner
- 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons flour
- 1 tablespoon butter softened
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chicken broth low-salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 4 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest organic
- Place each chicken breast in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap then pound to tenderize.
- Sprinkle them with half of the salt and pepper.
- On a plate, place the 1/2 cup flour then dredge the chicken on both sides. Shake off the excess.
- In a small bowl, whisk the softened butter and 2 teaspoons flour until creamy. Set aside.
- Over medium heat, in a medium nonstick saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil then brown both sides of the chicken, about 4 minutes each or until cooked through. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate then cover to keep them warm.
- Using the same saucepan, wipe off the excess oil and flour with paper towels. Pour the chicken broth and lemon juice until it boils then whisk in the butter and flour mixture as well as the remaining oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk until everything comes together. Adjust the taste. Add the capers. Put back the cooked chicken and coat them with the sauce. Sprinkle the parsley and the lemon zest then turn off the fire.
- Serve while hot.
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