We planted a lemon tree last spring and are just now harvesting our first lemons!
Every time I walk by this tree in the back yard, I hear the old “Lemon Tree” song in my head.
Remember that one?
“Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat…”
Well, with apologies to whoever wrote that song, these lemons are DELICIOUS to eat!
Since we only have a few lemons, I wanted to make something special with them. Chicken Piccata seemed to be just the thing!
Thin slices of chicken are lightly breaded a bathed in luscious lemony, buttery goodness.
Even though Chicken Piccata seems like a fancy restaurant entrée, it’s surprisingly quick and easy to make at home.
Here’s what you need:
Chicken Breasts, Lemons, Butter, Olive Oil, Capers, Flour, Chicken Broth, Parsley, Salt & Pepper
You can buy prepared chicken cutlets at the store but they are pretty expensive for what are basically flattened chicken pieces.
Instead, I would buy either boneless skinless chicken breasts OR for even less money, regular old bone in, skin on chicken breasts and make your own cutlets.
I started with 2 chicken breast halves that I took off the bone myself so they are now boneless and skinless.
Then you take a sharp knife and run it horizontally and evenly through your chicken to make 2 thinner cutlets.
I find that it’s easiest to place your hand flat and right on top of the chicken to hold it in place.
I’ve honestly never even come close to cutting myself doing this. Be careful, but it’s really not a big deal.
So after you cut each chicken breast in half again, you have 4 thinnish cutlets.
Place each cutlet between 2 pieces of waxed paper (or you can also use a ziplock bag) and pound them out to a uniform thickness (or thinness depending on how you look at it).
Notice that I am using the smooth side of my pounder. The spiky side is a tenderizer. We don’t want to use that side.
I don’t overly pound these. They don’t have to be super thin – we don’t want them to fall apart.
Mine ended up being about ¼ inch thick.
Season your thin chicken cutlets with salt & pepper.
Because this comes together very quickly, be sure to have all of your other ingredients prepared ahead of time.
Squeeze the juice from 2 lemons to make 1/3 cup.
One of my lemons was even too fat to fit in the squeezer. These are Eureka Lemons and they are HUGE!
Drain and rinse 2 Tablespoons of capers.
Place some flour (about 1/3 cup) on a plate or in a flat pan. You can substitute Gluten Free flour in this dish and it works like a charm.
Lightly dredge your chicken cutlets in flour on both sides. Shake off the excess flour.
We want these to be very lightly breaded. This is not one of those big eggy, flour, breadcrumb situations.
Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 2 Tablespoons butter over medium high heat in a large skillet until foamy.
I’m using a non-stick skillet which I highly recommend so your cutlets don’t stick.
Place the cutlets in the skillet. Work in two batches if you don’t have ample room in your skillet.
Cook the cutlets quickly over medium high heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the cutlets to a plate and pour 1/3 cup of lemon juice and ½ cup chicken broth into the pan.
Add the capers and bring to a boil, scraping up any little browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Let the sauce slightly reduce, then return the chicken to the pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer in the sauce for 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Place the chicken cutlets on a serving platter or individual plates.
Finish the sauce by whisking in 1 additional Tablespoon of butter. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Adding butter at the very end of a sauce is a great trick. It makes the sauce extra glossy and binds all the juices together.
Plus…butter is good.
Spoon the sauce over the chicken cutlets and garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley.
I served my chicken piccata with some steamed asparagus and a simple tossed salad.
I felt very good about dedicating one of my first lemons to this dinner but you don’t need your own lemon tree to enjoy this one.
So delicious, there were no leftovers.
Here’s the recipe – Adapted from Everyday Italian – Giada De Laurentiis