Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pucker Up...Time for Chicken Piccata!

This weekend's featured meal is courtesy of Ina Garten, also known as Barefoot Contessa. I've watched her show on Food Network for years, but until last night I'd never actually tried out any of her cookbooks or recipes at home. I checked out a couple of her books from the library and decided that she's my kind of gal: for the most part, she loves to keep her recipes uncomplicated...but with lots of bang for your buck taste-wise!  I was really excited when y'all chose her in last week's poll as favorite celebrity chef, because it meant I would finally get a chance to try some of her recipes!! Last night's dinner came mainly from her Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook.

My dear friend Debbie (we were college roomies in in The Big 80s!) raves about Ina's chicken piccata, so I knew immediately which entree I wanted to try. From the way she talks about this dish, I knew it would be good. She didn't steer me wrong...this is truly fantastic. It has all the things that I love best in a recipe: it's quick to make, the flavor is amazing...especially if you love citrus, and it has a lot of WOW Factor. I'm putting this recipe into the regular dinner rotation at Casa's simple enough to make on a work night, but fancy enough to serve to company.

I kept the sides fairly simple last night so the chicken would be the focus of the meal. I made herbed basmati rice and field greens tossed with Ina's amazing green goddess dressing. The dressing is super-easy to whip up in a food processor, so I'll share the recipe later this week. For dessert, I combined two of Ina's cake recipes and made a glazed lemon-honey-vanilla pound cake. Yes, I baked. Said baking resulted in much hilarity, which I'll share in tomorrow's post. For now? I'll leave you with the chicken piccata recipe. I made this one pretty much by the book...the only significant alteration I made was to add some grated parm-reggiano to the bread crumbs since I had less than the recipe called for. Sometimes a gal's gotta improvise ;)!

Chicken Picatta
adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

  • 4 pieces boneless chicken breasts (unless the package you bought only has three pieces when you get home :lol:)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan reggiano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbs. butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (about two lemons)...reserve the lemon halves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley
Step 1:  Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil. Place each chicken breast between two pieces of parchment of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thick. OR you can just do what I did: buy the chicken already in cutlets ;)! Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Step 2:  Combine flour, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper in a large plastic zip bag. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with 1 tbs. water. In a second bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the parmesan. Shake each breast in the flour, and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg wash, and then dredge in the bread crumb-cheese mixture. Place the chicken pieces on a plate.

Step 3:  Heat 2 tbs. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for about five minutes. Add two chicken breast pieces and cook for two minutes per side, until nicely browned. Put the first two breasts in the oven while you make the next batch of chicken. Let the pieces finish cooking in the oven while you make the sauce.

Step 4:  Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. On medium heat, melt 1 tbs. of the butter. Then add the lemon juice, white wine, reserved lemon halves, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook on high for about two minutes...until the sauce is thickened and reduced by about half. Remove from heat and toss the lemon halves. Swirl in the remaining two tbs. of the butter.

Step 5:  Remove chicken breasts from the oven and put on a serving plate. Pour the lemon-butter sauce over the top and garnish with the chopped parsley and thin slices of lemon. 

I'm not exaggerating when I say this is hands-down THE best chicken dish I've tried in ages. I can't wait to make it again. By the way, the pucker reference in today's title has two meanings. Sure...the lemony sauce might make you pucker a wee bit. But you also just might get a smooch from whoever you serve this dish's that good!! last thing: Go Houston Texans!!!


  1. Ina is one of my favorite cooks- I have made lots of her stuff- always great! I do think this chicken maybe a bit too lemony for my taste. Rice is a good idea for a side dish! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mmmm that looks good! Now I'm hungry! Lol

  3. I love Ina Garten and you rpicatta looks wonderful! I actually have a hige bag of lemons and have been trying to decide what lemon-centric sidh to make. I think i have found it!

  4. @Tracy...the sauce has a pronounced lemon flavor. But I'm betting you could tone it down a bit by adding 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the sauce and reducing a few minutes longer.

    @BWB and Katie: This was so good that Michael's already asked when I can make it again, so you know that means it's a keeper!


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