Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicken Piccata

I love chicken piccata, but I love it best when it is cooked right. I have been on a quest to cook this dish as good as I have had it in some restaurants. I have made several attempts, and recently (pictured above) I think I have gotten pretty close.

I found the recipe on (submitted by a Allrecipes's user, Terry C) and then changed it a little each time I made it.

Here is the original recipe:


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water


  1. In a small bowl, beat the egg together with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In a shallow bowl or dish mix together the flour, garlic powder and paprika. Dip the chicken in the egg/lemon mixture, then in the seasoned flour.
  3. In a large skillet, melt butter/margarine and brown the coated chicken pieces.
  4. Dissolve the bouillon in the boiling water, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour liquid into skillet. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, turning chicken pieces after 10 minutes, until chicken is tender. Garnish as desired and serve.
The original recipe works pretty good. However, I discovered something obvious in my first attempt. The meat needed to be thin and tender. I have never had much look with beating meat with a rolling pin (or cutting it) to thin it out. And let's face it, it is just easier to pick up thinly-sliced chicken breast, which I did. (I used Natures Promise thinly-sliced chicken breast because I like how it is a little healthier without the hormones etc.)

The recipe tasted much better with the thinly sliced chicken breast!

I also tweaked the recipe a bit with adding a little more lemon (I like the taste of lemon) and using real garlic (fresh minced) instead of garlic powder. I might have used both actually. (My partner loves garlic. He will eat it raw with meals!)

The chicken - I liked. I am not sure it is as good as I have had it in some restaurants but it is pretty close.

I, as you can see, served it over wheat pasta topped with fresh shredded Parmesan cheese and with asparagus on the side. Served this way the recipe seems to need slightly more sauce to give the pasta more flavor. I was thinking it might taste better with traditional pasta (not wheat). The asparagus, however, turned out so bad, that I could not even eat it. I steamed it and it ended up tasting like rubber. I have had better luck sauteing asparagus in oil and garlic, but sometimes I overcook it that way. I love asparagus when it is cooked right, but I find it tricky to make, and when it is cooked wrong - YUCK!

I almost forgot. I also added mushrooms to step 3 of the directions, but not at the same time as I put in the chicken, but a little later so as to not overcook them.

How can you serve chicken piccata without mushrooms?!

I am going to continuing playing with this recipe: try changing the pasta, making more sauce, and maybe maybe I will finally figure out how to make asparagus right.

Oh, and if you are in the Boston area and like chicken piccata type recipes, I highly recommend the Lemon Caper Chicken at Boston Beer Garden in South Boston, a fun place with yummy food.

This picture does not do the place justice. It is particularly nice in the summer time when the doors are left open to the sidewalk. Lots of yummy food, beer, and a great atmosphere - one of my "happy places".

Uhm... that reminds me, maybe I will add capers next time. :-)