Behind the Lace Curtains-Sunday Dinner, Chicken Piccata

Last week, I  mentioned I had several celebrity cookbooks in my collection.  Julia Child, Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, Ree Drummond, Paula Deen, Giada DeLaurentiis, Paul Burrell (the late Princess of Wales’ butler) and Lisa Vanderpump are among them, as well as White House chefs Rene Verdon, Walter Schieb and Vice President’s cook Russell Cronkhite.  So, it should come as no surprise that with the rise of the Internet, I’ve also collected online recipes from various people, so Rachel Ray, Robin Miller and Michael Chiarello are also in my now overflowing recipe box.  I have one three-ring binder dedicated to Martha Stewart’s recipes, and I’m always referring back to some great tried and true recipes as well as an opportunity to make new favorites.

I love to watch Ina and her husband, Jeffrey.  She shares not only her recipes and cooking techniques, she also introduces viewers to the great producers and shop keepers in the Hamptons as well as her nice friends.  One recipe I’ve made over and over is chicken piccata.  Jamey and I love it, it’s easy and couldn’t be more delicious as a dinner for two or for company.

2 split (one split in two) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 T. water
3/4 c. seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 T. unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 c. dry white wine (I use Chardonnay)
2 T. capers
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper in a shallow plate.  In a second plate, bet the egg and 1/2 T. of water together.  Place the bread crumbs on a third plate.  Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 1 T. of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat.  Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned.  Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel.  Over medium heat, melt 1 T. of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, capers, 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes.  Off the heat, add the remaining 2 T. of butter and swirl to combine.  Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate.  Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

I usually add the parsley in the sauce and cook the chicken breasts entirely in the skillet, rather than putting them in the oven.  To keep them warm, I just put a sheet of aluminum foil over them, as it does not take long to make the sauce.

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