For my birthday last year, my friend Melissa S. wanted to prepare her family’s favorite meal for my family. What a treat it was! She knows me well and therefore invited me to come and cook with her and learn the recipe. Cooking with a friend + Learning new recipes + Sharing a meal together = Deep Joy!
The menu was Chicken Piccata with Massaged Lemony Kale Salad (which I wrote about here and has since become a staple in our kitchen) and Tres Leches Cake with strawberries for dessert (which is still on my “to make” list). It was amazing start to finish! It was such a gift during a pandemic birthday to cook and share a special meal with dear friends. Because it is Melissa’s family’s favorite meal, she didn’t seem stressed, and didn’t use a recipe or measure much. I stood in awe as she chatted and explained and dredged cutlets, and pan fried them, and made sauce (In addition to other parts of the meal). Because there were nine of us with our families, she had to make a lot batches!
For me, it was intimidating to try making with only a verbal recipe. I searched online for some written recipes that sounded most similar to hers. I have been excited to develop detailed written instructions and take photos to share this dish with you all! It’s not hard, just a few steps to follow and so worth it!
While the recipe is simple, timing really matters! We have tried making it twice and have learned some things that help manage the many tasks. Having all of your ingredients prepped and near, and planning the preparation of the other parts of the menu (green veggie or salad, potatoes or pasta) is of great importance! We made it this weekend with garlic mashed potatoes and haricots verts (skinny green beans). It was delicious! We cleaned our plates! Actually, Dave may or may not have licked his plate.
The combination of flavors- butter, oil, capers, garlic, white wine and lemon – makes such a wonderful sauce!
Recipe Inspired by Melissa Snider & Bon Appétit
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (sliced in half horizontally)
Kosher Salt & Ground Pepper & Garlic Powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 Tbsp. salted butter, divided
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup dry white wine (or white cooking wine)
1 Tbsp. capers, and a little of the caper brine
4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Chopped parsley and lemon wedges (for serving)
Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally- making four cutlets. Lightly pound each piece between sheets of plastic wrap or paper towels until an even thickness (about 1/2″ thick or less). Season lightly with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place flour in a medium shallow bowl. Working one at a time, place cutlets in bowl and toss to coat in flour. Knock off excess flour and transfer to a plate.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil and 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding the pan, cook cutlets, without moving them, until deeply browned underneath, about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side for about 2 more minutes or until a food thermometer placed in the thickest part reaches 155-160 degrees. Transfer to an oven safe dish and place in warmed oven to stay warm until time to serve.
Add garlic and another Tbsp. of butter to the skillet and cook, stirring often and reducing the heat if needed, about 2 minutes. Add wine, capers (with a little of the caper brine), and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of skillet, until liquid is reduced and thickened a bit, about 3 minutes. Add a little water if needed to thin the liquid. Move sauce to a dish.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 again with the other 2 chicken cutlets.
Stir together the 2 batches of sauce, and stir to incorporate and warm. Add chicken pieces back into the sauce along with sliced lemons and parsley (optional). Serve over mashed potatoes or Alfredo noodles with sauce spooned over.
8 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4 cup whole milk
1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. cream cheese
In a large pot of cold water, bring the potatoes and garlic to a boil. Salt the water and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes (or if you have an Instant Pot- place potatoes, garlic and enough water to cover potatoes in the pot and cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes, followed by quick release).
Drain the potatoes, return the potatoes to the pot and mash, using a potato masher or immersion blender. Or place potatoes in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and blend until smooth and creamy.
Pour melted butter, cream cheese and Parmesan cheese into the warm mashed potatoes. Stir until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Haricots Verts- frozen thin green beans (our favorites are from Trader Joes)
Several Tablespoons of butter
Coarse Salt and Ground Pepper
Place frozen haricots verts in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cover and let cook for 5-8 minutes until warm and tender. Add butter and cook until butter is melted. Continue to cook until beans are soft and a little browned on the edges. Add salt and pepper and stir. Taste and add more butter or salt and pepper if needed.
I will always remember the time Chicken Picatta was made with love for me and my family, so for me, this dish tastes like love.