Chicken Piccata – Cooks Illustrated

Chicken Piccata – Cooks Illustrated.

Today, two versions of Chicken Piccata, the one creamy, dreamy and buttery the other a  lighter version that is not so fattening.

CHICKEN PICCATA

Chicken Piccata - Cooks Illustrated

SERVES 4

If you like, use thinly sliced cutlets available at many supermarkets. These cutlets don’t have any tenderloins and can be used as they are.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2large lemons
  • 4boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), preferably kosher or Bell and Evans, rinsed, dried thoroughly, trimmed of excess fat, and prepared according to illustrations below
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1small shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons) or 1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2tablespoons small capers , drained
  • 3tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
  • 2tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof plate on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees.

  2. 2. Halve one lemon pole to pole. Trim ends from one half and cut crosswise into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick; set aside. Juice remaining half and whole lemon to obtain 1/4 cup juice; reserve.

  3. 3. Sprinkle both sides of cutlets generously with salt and pepper. Measure flour into pie tin or shallow baking dish. Working one cutlet at a time, coat with flour, and shake to remove excess.

  4. 4. Heat heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes; add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl pan to coat. Lay half of chicken pieces in skillet. Sauté cutlets, without moving them, until lightly browned on first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn cutlets and cook until second side is lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and transfer cutlets to plate in oven. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add remaining chicken pieces and repeat.

  5. 5. Add shallot or garlic to now-empty skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds for shallot or 10 seconds for garlic. Add stock and lemon slices, increase heat to high, and scrape skillet bottom with wooden spoon or spatula to loosen browned bits. Simmer until liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and capers and simmer until sauce reduces again to 1/3 cup, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter until butter melts and thickens sauce; swirl in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

    Published January 1, 2001.  

    WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

    For a chicken piccata recipe that would produce properly cooked chicken coated in a sauce that really tasted of lemons and capers, we found it best to skip the pounding and instead slice the cutlets in half horizontally. For the best lemon fla…(more)

    SERVES 4

    If you like, use thinly sliced cutlets available at many supermarkets. These cutlets don’t have any tenderloins and can be used as they are.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 2large lemons
    • 4boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), preferably kosher or Bell and Evans, rinsed, dried thoroughly, trimmed of excess fat, and prepared according to illustrations below
    • Salt and ground black pepper
    • 1/2cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 4tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1small shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons) or 1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
    • 1cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
    • 2tablespoons small capers , drained
    • 3tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
    • 2tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof plate on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees.

    2. 2. Halve one lemon pole to pole. Trim ends from one half and cut crosswise into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick; set aside. Juice remaining half and whole lemon to obtain 1/4 cup juice; reserve.

    3. 3. Sprinkle both sides of cutlets generously with salt and pepper. Measure flour into pie tin or shallow baking dish. Working one cutlet at a time, coat with flour, and shake to remove excess.

    4. 4. Heat heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes; add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl pan to coat. Lay half of chicken pieces in skillet. Sauté cutlets, without moving them, until lightly browned on first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn cutlets and cook until second side is lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and transfer cutlets to plate in oven. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add remaining chicken pieces and repeat.

    5. 5. Add shallot or garlic to now-empty skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds for shallot or 10 seconds for garlic. Add stock and lemon slices, increase heat to high, and scrape skillet bottom with wooden spoon or spatula to loosen browned bits. Simmer until liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and capers and simmer until sauce reduces again to 1/3 cup, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter until butter melts and thickens sauce; swirl in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

    STEP-BY-STEP

    SLICING THE CUTLETS

    • After removing the tenderloin, place each cutlet smooth-side up on a cutting board. Holding one hand on top of the cutlet, carefully slice the cutlet in half horizontally.

    • This will yield two pieces, each between 3/8 and 1/2 inch thick.

      The Lighter Version of Chicken Piccata

      SERVES 4

      One cutlet per person makes a skimpy serving, so we call for a total of eight cutlets for serve four people. We prefer the flavor of whole milk in the sauce; however, 2 percent milk or half-and-half will also work. Do not use 1 percent or skim milk. This recipe was published in our cookbook The Best Light Recipe.

      INGREDIENTS

      • Cutlets
      • 1/2cup unbleached all-purpose flour
      • 4boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat, tenderloins removed, and sliced into cutlets (see illustrations below)
      • 2tablespoons vegetable oil
      • Piccata Sauce
      • 1medium shallot , minced (about 3 tablespoons)
      • Salt
      • 2medium garlic cloves , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
      • 1 1/2cups low-sodium chicken broth
      • 1/2lemon , ends trimmed, sliced thin
      • 2tablespoons whole milk
      • 1teaspoon cornstarch
      • 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
      • 2tablespoons capers , rinsed and patted dry
      • 1tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
      • Ground black pepper

      INSTRUCTIONS

      1. 1. For the cutlets: Spread the flour in a shallow dish. Pat the cutlets dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour and shake off the excess; set aside.

      2. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Lay half of the cutlets in the skillet and cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Flip the cutlets over and continue to cook until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 2 minutes. Transfer the cutlets to a plate and cover with foil; set aside. Repeat with the remaining oil and cutlets.

      3. 3. For the sauce: Add the shallot and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the oil left in the skillet, return to medium-low heat, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth and lemon slices, scraping up the browned bits. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture measures 1 cup, about 5 minutes.

      4. 4. Pour any accumulated chicken juices into the simmering sauce. Whisk the milk and cornstarch together, then whisk into the simmering sauce. Continue to simmer the sauce until it has thickened, about 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, capers, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chicken before serving.

      5. Per serving (without sauce): Cal 270; Fat 9 g; Sat fat 1.5 g; Chol 100 mg; Carb 5 g; Protein 40 g; Fiber 0 g; Sodium 260 mg

      6. Per serving (with sauce): Cal 295; Fat 9.5 g; Sat fat 1.5 g; Chol 100 mg; Carb 9 g; Protein 41 g; Fiber 0 g; Sodium 750 mg

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