Chicken Piccata


March is here and I’m dreaming of spring. I had dinner with a girlfriend a few weeks ago and we spent half the evening lamenting our respective gardens swapping ideas on the benefits and challenges of raised beds, composting and why the heck we can’t seem to grow carrots. Seriously, why are carrots so hard? I can grow a potato and an onion in the ground but not once have I had success with carrots.

Both of us, clearly, are novices but it’s something we enjoy and get excited about. In our lovely Valley with its abundant sunshine and rich soil (unless you live where I live and the clay is thicker than mud), it seems almost necessary to attempt to grow something; anything really.

The physicalness of getting my hands dirty, laboring over tender seeds and the satisfaction that comes when fragile shoots poke out of the ground is deeply satisfying. Gently tending those little shoots in bated anticipation of what will develop, every day wandering out to the garden looking to see if the vine is growing? Is that blossom actually going to become a cucumber? It’s all very thrilling really.

And a little frustrating when the dogs eat the broccoli and trample the baby sunflowers. Weeds take over the pepper patch so all that’s left is 500 jalapenos and two plants loaded down in green tomatoes. Not that any of that has ever happened to me.

Since we’re dreaming of spring and sunshine, this lovely chicken dish is the perfect thing to make while we wait. This recipe is only slightly adapted from Ina Garten’s Chicken Piccata recipe. I streamlined it just a bit and slightly reduced the amount of overall butter. Crispy breaded chicken drizzled in a decadent and bright lemon wine sauce comes together in less than 30 minutes.

Chicken Piccata

·         4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

·         1 teaspoon kosher salt

·         ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

·         1 cup flour

·         2 extra large eggs, whisked with a tablespoon of water

·         1 1⁄2 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs

·         2 tablespoons olive oil

·         2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

·         1⁄3 cup fresh lemon juice

·         1⁄2 cup dry white wine

·         fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice the chicken breasts in half so that you have two thin pieces of meat. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

On a shallow plate, mix a pinch of salt and pepper into the flour. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon water. Place the breadcrumbs on a third plate. Dip each breast in the flour, shake off the excess, dip in egg mixture and finally coat in the bread crumb mixture.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add chicken breasts, two at a time, to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Place them on the lined sheet pan while you cook the rest of the chicken. Heat more olive oil in sauté pan if needed and cook the rest of the chicken. Place them on the same lined pan and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter, then stir in lemon juice, white wine, 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoons pepper.

Simmer sauce until reduced by half. Remove pan from heat and add the rest of the butter, swirling to combine. Serve one chicken breast on each plate and spoon the sauce over the meat. Finish with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.