Chicken PiccataCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
During the quarantine, I became obsessed with perfecting my Chicken Piccata recipe. It has since become a family favorite, so much so that I now make Piccata Sauce in large batches so that I can always have a stash of it in the freezer. I started using it as a sauce for my Caramelized Onion Turkey Meatballs, or to make Cauliflower Steak Piccata which is my personal favorite!
The secret to this recipe is not skimping on the lemon zest. You will be using the zest of two whole lemons and the juice of one in this recipe. It really amps up the lemon flavor which makes the sauce utterly craveable.
Also, try not to skip the first step, which is brining the chicken breast in a salt water solution. This step is second nature to me, as I refuse to eat chicken breast that has not been properly brined, but it might seem onerous to you if you’ve never done it before. Brining chicken ensures that it stays juicy and well seasoned while cooking. It imparts such great flavor and texture to chicken breast, that it will likely convert chicken breast “haters” (of which I was once one) to chicken breast enthusiasts.
- To Prepare Chicken
1.5-2 lbs chicken breast (3 large breasts or 4 small breasts)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 cup Kosher salt
- For Piccata Sauce
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
3 cups chicken broth, room temperature or cold
1/2 medium vidialia onion (enough to yield 1/2 cup finely diced)
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp capers
- To brine chicken: Dissolve 1/4 cup Kosher salt into 2 quarts cold water in a large bowl. Add chicken breasts, cover, and refrigerate for 30-60 min.
- While chicken brines, use a microplane grater to remove the zest from both lemons and set aside. Juice one of the lemons and set aside. Mince your garlic cloves and finely dice your onion.
- Drain chicken and rinse once with water. Towel dry chicken breasts lightly using a paper towel and transfer to a cutting board.
- Cut each chicken breast in half vertically, so you have a thick half and a thinner half. Then cut only the thick half horizontally, to create three cutlets of similar size and thickness. Place cutlets between sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound to even 1/2 inch thickness.
- Combine your flour and seasoned salt in a shallow baking dish, and working with one cutlet at a time, coat with flour and shake to remove excess.
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and adjust oven rack to lower middle position. Place a small sheet pan in the oven.
- Heat 2 tbsp of your neutral oil in a heavy bottomed 12 inch skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Lay half of the chicken cutlets in the skillet and sauté until browned on the first side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and brown the other side. Remove the cutlets from the skillet and transfer to sheet pan in oven. Repeat the process with your remaining pieces of chicken. Cook chicken until it has an internal temperature of 165 degrees (F) and remove from oven when cooked through, about 10-12 min. Cover chicken with foil to keep warm.
- Drain residual oil from skillet, add butter to skillet, and place over medium heat. Add diced onion and garlic. Sauté onion and garlic until softened. Add flour to pan and stir to combine. Cook flour/butter/onion mixture for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Raise temperature to medium high and add cold stock in a slow steady stream, whisking continuously to incorporate stock into flour/butter mixture. Whisking frequently, bring stock to a low boil to thicken, this should only take a few minutes. Once sauce is thickened, add lemon zest, juice, and sugar, and 1 tsp Kosher salt. Add capers, then black pepper to taste. Whisk to incorporate. If you plan on consuming the Chicken Piccata in one sitting, add chicken pieces to skillet with sauce and heat through. Add parsley and serve immediately. If you aim to have leftovers, read the next step.
- If you aim to have leftovers that you can reheat, keep the sauce and chicken separate, as the sauce will continue to thicken from the chicken’s flour coating. In this instance, remove half of the sauce from the skillet (I ladle it into a glass measuring cup), and add only half the cooked chicken breasts to the sauce.