This is a family favorite, and put together very quickly. Typically when I’m prepping this meal, I will prep an entire package of chicken breasts (3 very large or 4 not-so large is what I usually try to get a the store), then freeze half of the chicken, making the second preparation even easier.
I’m not sure if this is the traditional way to prepare Piccata. Piccata defined by the Googles as: Piccata, Picatta, Pichotta is a method of preparing food: meat is sliced, coated, sautéed and served in a sauce. Yup that’s pretty much it. But after having this in a restaurant, my thought was “I can do this” (sometimes a success…sometimes a disaster. In this case it turned out to be a keeper and this is a regular in our rotation).
Here’s how I make it:
Prepare the coating:
Approximately ¾ C. all-purpose flour, 1 T. each of onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning, 1t. each of black pepper and salt (Himalayan sea salt, if you’re feeling very fancy).
Prep the pan:
In a large sauté pan, add enough olive oil to sufficiently coat the bottom (you could use any type of oil that can withstand high heat) and get the oil started heating on medium heat.
Prep the chicken:
Slice the chicken breasts through the middle to make 2 thinner pieces from each breast.
Using a meat mallet of some kind, pound the meat thin. I find this to be most satisfying after a frustrating day at work, but always elicits “what the heck is going on in there” from the kids and raucous barking from the corgis.
Dredge the chicken on both sides in the flour mixture. Dredge heavily. Reserve the remaining flour mixture.
At this point, you’re going to want to give eeevvvery little thing that raw chicken touched a good scrubbing.
Pan fry the chicken until golden brown. Some of the flour is going to stick, that’s ok. We’re going to take care of that later. Fry until chicken is cooked through (no pink and juices run clear).
Here’s where you can pause. Cue “The Girl From Ipanema” in head. Wait for the family to get home, have a glass of wine, what have you. I will typically put the chicken on a pan and put in the oven at 200 degrees if it’s going to be an extended wait, or if not turn the pan off until you’re ready to proceed. If you’re finishing all the way through…soldier on.
Heat 2 C. water in the microwave until just near boiling and add 1 to 2 T. of chicken base to your taste (it can be very salty). Instead of this you can also use 2 C. of chicken stock. I find the base to be more space efficient and it allows me to control the flavor of the food more than stock, but YMMV.
Remove the chicken from the pan. If you’ve turned the heat down, turn it back up to around medium.
Add enough of the flour to the oil left in the pan to make a nice paste and cook for a minute or two. If there is no oil left in the pan you may want to add a bit of oil and heat prior to adding the flour. The more paste or roux you have in the pan, and the thicker it is, the thicker your sauce is going to be. I prefer the sauce on the thinner side for this particular dish. Adding approximately ¼ C oil at the start of cooking should get you about there.
Deglaze the pan. That’s a fancy term for “pour some kind of liquid over the browned bits to get them off the bottom of the pan”. In this case I used about ¼ C of cooking Sherry (I prefer normal Sherry typically because it allow me to control the salt content, but more often I have cooking sherry around. You just have to account for it when adjusting the seasoning) It makes a most satisfying sound when you add the cold liquid to the hot pan. If the bits are sticking, scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook for another minute or so until bubbling.
Add the microwaved liquid, and cook, whisking until thickened. You can turn up the heat if you’re continually whisking or keep on medium if you’re doing other things (I often am).
Add ¼ C to ½ C of lemon juice. Again this is going to be to your taste, so keep tasting. Add the chicken back to the pan, along with 2 T crushed garlic and 4 T capers. Cook until the chicken is heated through. The sauce is going to be thicker than the final, but we’re going to add a lot of spinach and it will thin down.
Add a bunch of spinach to the top of the pan, and put the lid on. Yes it looks like a LOT of spinach, but that is going to cook down. Steam the spinach, I like to give it a couple of turns.
Serve with your favorite pasta and a nice salad. This one’s a wedge salad, one of my favorites. We’ll talk about that another day.
This is my first real blog post and first time taking and posting food pictures, so your feedback, candor and kindness are greatly appreciated.
- 4 chicken breasts
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons chicken base
- 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 5 tablespoons capers drained
- 4 cups spinach
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- Slice chicken breasts horizontally to flatten. Pound with a meat mallet to flatten chicken breasts. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Combine flour and dried seasonings. Dip chicken breasts in flour mixture, and heat in skillet until browned on both sides (usually 5 minutes per side). Place chicken on plate in preheated 200 degree oven. Add a couple of tablespoons leftover flour mixture and cook for a minute. Add sherry, water, lemon juice, chicken base, capers, and garlic and cook until thickened. Add chicken breasts back to pan and cook in sauce for several minutes. Add spinach and put lid on pan. Cook for several minutes until spinach is just heated through. Toss spinach in sauce and adjust the seasoning.