2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 halves)
1 cup all purpose flour for dredging
1/4 cup clarified butter
1 fresh lemon
capers (to your taste)
2 small garlic cloves, mashed
3/4 cup chicken broth
Tbls. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbls. whole butter
salt to taste
2 Tbls. capers (optional)
Step One: Prepare chicken breasts
1. Remove the tenders from the breasts if they are present, the long finger-like strips. Trim all fat and sinews and remove the thin membrane covering the breasts. Butterfly the breasts starting from the plump lobe side. Press firmly with the palm of your hand to achieve uniform thickness. Do not pound with mallet.
2. Trim all fat and sinews and remove the thin membrane covering the breasts.
3. Butterfly the breasts starting from the plump lobe side.
4. Press firmly with the palm of your hand to achieve uniform thickness. Do not pound with mallet.
Step Two: Sauté chicken breasts
1. Place a 10", heavy bottomed sauté pan on high heat and add enough of the clarified butter to coat the bottom.
2. When fat is hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle, immediately dredge the chicken breasts in the flour plate, shake of excess and place in the pan. Do not dredge in advance or the flour will get pasty. Shake pan frequently to avoid sticking and continue until bottoms are golden brown.
3. Turn breasts in the pan and reduce heat to medium.
4. Cut ends from the lemon and make four thin slices (about 1/2 of the lemon), place sliced lemon in pan and squeeze the juice from the remaining half into the pan.
5. Add mashed garlic and immediately deglaze the pan by pouring at least 1/2 inch of chicken broth in it.
6. Add parsley, the tablespoon of whole butter, and capers if you are using them.
Step Three: The finish
1. Continue cooking until chicken is done. If all is perfect, the pan sauce will form right when the chicken is finished.
2. If the pan sauce has not yet come together, remove chicken from sauté pan and place on warm plates, turn heat to high and quickly reduce pan sauce to the proper consistency.
3. Spoon a generous amount of sauce over the breasts in the plate and top each breast piece with one of the cooked lemon slices
NOTE: Never place a sauté item in a cold pan as it will absorb fat and become greasy. When a recipe calls for pounded thin chicken breasts, use the butterfly method instead. It retains the delicate consistency of the chicken breast. Using the mallet to pound chicken breasts very thin has its place in certain instances such as a roulade, but for straight sauté, butterflying is the way to go. Always use fresh ingredients in your sauté, plastic lemon, dried garlic, and parsley flakes just do not work. For a true piccata sauce never add white wine in the sauté pan with the fresh lemon. A white wine butter sauce is a sauce unto its own. This technique works extremely well using thin medallions of veal to create a wonderful veal piccata.