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In part three of our three-part series, How to Use Home Grown California Lemons, we are making chicken (pollo) piccata.  Piccata is an Italian method of preparing meat that originated with veal (vitello) but is now most commonly used with chicken. Light white fish (pesce), such as tilapia, can be prepared this way as well  The meat is usually pounded flat (don’t pound the fish), dredged in a seasoned flour and sautéed in butter or olive oil.  A sauce is then made with the pan drippings using white wine and lemon juice.  Garlic or shallots can be added.  Top it off with capers.

When it comes to pounding the chicken, you can use a meat mallet if you have one.  Mr. Bibb is not a big fan of single-use cooking utensils (such as meat mallets, garlic presses, apple slicers, etc.) because they take up valuable real estate in the limited space of kitchen drawers.  We have a meat mallet, but it went missing after our last move.  So we use a cast iron skillet.

Add a nice green summer veggie like zucchini.  In fact, the name zucchini is derived from the Italian zucchina, which means small pumpkin.  Anyway, it’s nearly Italian, so that’s gonna be your best bet.

For a more substantial meal, add some risotto.  But I have no advice for you on that at this time.

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

Adapted from Cuisine at Home.  Serves 2.

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded into cutlets
  • salt and pepper
  • all-flour pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 fresh lemon slices
  • chopped fresh parsley

Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.  Heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.

Saute cutlets for 2-3 minutes on one side; turn and sauté for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.  Transfer to a warm platter. Pour off the fat from the pan.

Deglaze the pan with wine (boil the liquid and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan), adding the garlic.  Reduce by cooking for about 2 minutes.

Add broth, lemon juice and capers.  Return cutlets to the pan and cook on each side for 1 minute.  Transfer cutlets to warm serving platter or plates.

Finish sauce by adding butter and lemon slices.  Once the butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets.

Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.  Serve immediately because it gets cold right quick.