Chicken Piccata

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, January, 2001

Makes 4 servings


  • 2 large lemons
  • 4 boneless, skinless thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets (about 1-1/2 pounds) rinsed and dried thoroughly
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons) 
  • 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons small capers, drained
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves


Step 1: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof plate on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees.
Step 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.
Step 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.
Step 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.
Step 5: Add shallot to now-empty skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add stock and lemon slices, increase heat to high, and scrape skillet bottom with wooden spoon or spatula to loosen browned bits.
Step 6: 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.
 Step 7: Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter until butter melts and thickens sauce; swirl in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.


Skinless boneless chicken breasts are like rubber chicken. to make them edible, I marinate them about half an hour in equal amounts of dry sherry and lemon juice. Then book any way you like. this technique makes them juicy and tender. An improvement on the way they are usually prepared

Thanks Janet for the tip. I'll have to try that next time I make this recipe. I do find that pounding the breasts with a mallet tenderizes them.

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