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« Apricot Jam Captures a Fleeting Taste of Summer | Main | Dinner on the Run »

Chicken Piccata – Easy Answer to a Busy Weeknight Dinner

By Allison Kociuruba

When I’m having a busy week and need to get dinner on the table, I turn to an easy one-skillet dish, Chicken Piccata. It’s delicious and requires a few ingredients that I usually keep on hand (or on a short shopping list to pick up).

In this classic Italian recipe, a simple sauce of butter, lemon juice, parsley and capers adds a punch of flavor to chicken breasts. I serve it with a simple side of steamed vegetables or a spinach salad. Depending on my mood, I’ll sometimes add chopped artichoke hearts or green olives to the sauce.

Pounding the chicken to an even thickness not only tenderizes the meat, but also reduces cook time and ensures even cooking throughout. I usually buy large packages of chicken breasts (to save money) and package them in zip-top bags for freezing (to save time and effort). I pull one bag out and put it in the refrigerator to defrost the day before I’m going to use it. Then, I use the bag to pound out the chicken. You can pound the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap. I prefer the bag method so I’m not fighting with plastic wrap and don’t risk getting raw chicken juice on my cutting board.

This recipe makes 2 servings but you can easily double or triple it for a family meal.

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Chicken Piccata for Two
Serves 2

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped plus more for garnish
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 3/4 pounds
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, divided

In a small bowl stir together lemon juice, capers and parsley.

Put chicken breast in zip-top plastic bag or between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound into ¼-inch thickness. Dredge chicken in flour, patting off any excess.

In a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the butter until melted. Add chicken breasts to pan, sautéing until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken breasts to dinner plates.

Reduce heat to low and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to pan. Stir until melted, add lemon juice mixture, continuing to stir until hot. Spoon sauce over each chicken breast and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from the National Chicken Council

Allison is a freelance recipe developer and food writer who honed her skills (and her chef’s knife) as the Senior Food Editor at Good Housekeeping magazine after graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. She also spent time working in the kitchens of top New York City restaurants Café Boulud and Butter. Allison is now living and cooking in the Bay Area where she develops recipes and web content for Whole Foods Market and Driscoll’s Berries. She is also a consultant to the Center for Culinary Development in San Francisco, tracking and reporting on the latest food trends.

Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Our bloggers blog Monday through Friday to give you cooking inspiration. Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Reader Comments (3)

You want to try your cooking skills out, then what better way to do it in the most convenient way but to watch an instructional video for you to fully grasp how to properly do each procedure like the one shown above. In our busy lives, most of us no longer have the luxury of time to prepare our own meals - it would be fortunate if you have a favorite deli or diner that serves healthy meals - but then again you should always make an effort to learn basic cooking as much as possible. Thank you for sharing another mouth-watering chicken recipe, something to try out when we have guests over during the weekend.

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTower Deli

Quick and delicious! You've learned I can't cook anything as printed Sandy, so here's my additions. I added a little white wine, quartered artichoke hearts, quartered mushrooms, lemon slices and sliced onions to the sauce, let it cook down and served over the chicken.

September 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChillygal

Such an easy and good tasting dish. Made it for dinner tonight and the family really enjoyed it. Medium heat was a bit hot for my stove but that was a pretty easy adjustment.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Barber

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