A Simple Chicken Piccata Is An Italian Delight
A bottle of red, a bottle of white - It all depends upon your appetite
I'll meet you any time you want - In our Italian Restaurant. - Billy Joel
When I lived in New York City, there was a restaurant in Hell's Kitchen, 39th and 9th Avenue, just across from the Port Authority called Guido's Restaurant or Supreme Macaroni. The front of the restaurant was a small store with shelves lined with pasta. You would walk through the store to get to the restaurant in the back.
In my memory, Guido's was bigger than the descriptions I'd been reading online. According to some websites, the restaurant only held ten tables covered with checkered tablecloths.
I've been looking for photos of the restaurant but only can find some of the front of the building and not the interior except for this famous photo taken for Billy Joel's The Stranger Album.
I also remember you could order wine in carafes, and they would give you what looked like juice glasses to drink from. The food was excellent.
My favorite dishes at Guido's were Veal Francaise and Chicken Piccata. I'm sure I can't duplicate the meal from Guido's because a lot of the enjoyment came from the experience of being at this restaurant, but I can show you how to make a good chicken piccata recipe at home.
About Chicken Piccata
Chicken piccata is a delicious and savory dish that has captured the hearts and palates of food lovers worldwide. This classic Italian recipe features tender chicken breasts cooked in a flavorful lemon and caper sauce, resulting in a bright and tangy dish.
The star of the show in chicken piccata is the chicken itself. Thinly pounded chicken breasts are lightly coated in flour, which gives them a delicate and crispy texture when cooked. The chicken is then sautéed in a hot pan with butter or olive oil until golden brown. This step adds beautiful color to the chicken and enhances its flavor.
What truly sets chicken piccata apart is the sauce. Fresh lemon juice, white wine, and chicken broth are mixed with capers, garlic, and sometimes even a touch of butter. This results in a sauce that is zesty, tangy, and brimming with aromatic flavors. The acidity of the lemon juice adds a refreshing contrast to the richness of the chicken, while the capers provide a burst of briny goodness.
Chicken piccata is often served with pasta, such as angel hair or linguine, which absorbs the delectable sauce and complements the chicken perfectly. The dish can also be accompanied by steamed vegetables or a crisp salad, adding freshness and balance to the meal.
This versatile dish can be enjoyed year-round as a comforting dinner on a chilly evening or a light and refreshing summer meal. Its vibrant flavors and textures make it a crowd-pleaser that will impress families and guests alike.
What other proteins can you serve with Piccata sauce?
While chicken is the most common protein used in piccata sauce, several other proteins can be served with this flavorful sauce to create delicious and varied dishes. Here are some options:
- Veal Piccata: Like chicken piccata, veal piccata features tender veal cutlets pounded thin and cooked in lemon and caper sauce. It offers a more delicate and luxurious twist on the classic dish.
- Fish Piccata: White fish fillets such as sole, flounder, or tilapia can be coated in flour and pan-fried, then topped with the tangy piccata sauce. The lightness of the fish pairs well with the bright flavors of the sauce.
- Pork Piccata: Thinly sliced pork tenderloin or pork chops can be cooked like chicken piccata. The pork adds a slightly richer flavor to the dish while complementing the zesty sauce.
- Turkey Piccata: Turkey cutlets, pounded thin and sautéed, provide a lean and flavorful alternative to chicken. The piccata sauce adds a burst of freshness to the turkey, making it a delightful option.
- Tofu Piccata: Tofu can be used as a protein source for a vegetarian or vegan twist. Firm or extra-firm tofu is sliced and pan-fried until golden brown, then served with the piccata sauce. The tofu absorbs the flavors of the sauce and creates a satisfying meatless option.
These alternative protein options provide a range of flavors and textures to enjoy with the vibrant piccata sauce. So whether you prefer the classic chicken or want to explore different culinary possibilities, there are plenty of choices to suit your taste and dietary preferences.
Who invented chicken piccata and what is its history?
The exact origin of chicken piccata is unclear, but it is believed to be an Italian-American dish that originated in the United States. The term "piccata" comes from the Italian word "piccato," which means "larded" or "embellished." Traditional Italian cooking techniques and flavors likely inspired the dish.
Chicken piccata likely emerged in Italian immigrant communities in the United States, particularly in regions with a strong Italian influence, such as New York and the Northeast. It is thought to have been developed to adapt traditional Italian flavors to the ingredients and tastes available in the new environment.
Over time, chicken piccata gained popularity and became a staple in Italian-American cuisine. Its appeal lies in the simplicity of the ingredients and the bright, tangy flavors of the lemon and caper sauce. In addition, its versatility and ability to pair well with pasta, vegetables, or salad have contributed to its enduring popularity.
While the exact inventor of chicken piccata remains unknown, it has become a beloved and iconic dish in Italian-American cuisine. Today, it is enjoyed in restaurants and households worldwide, delighting diners with its combination of tender chicken and zesty, aromatic sauce.
Do they make chicken piccata in Italy?
Yes, chicken piccata is indeed a dish that is made in Italy. However, while it may have gained popularity in Italian-American cuisine, it also has roots in Italian culinary traditions. In Italy, piccata typically refers to a cooking method in which thinly sliced meat, such as veal or chicken, is sautéed and served with a sauce that often includes lemon juice and capers.
In Italian cuisine, chicken piccata is known as "pollo alla piccata" or "cotoletta alla piccata" depending on the specific preparation. The chicken breast is typically pounded thin, coated in flour, and then quickly cooked in a hot skillet with butter or olive oil until golden brown. The sauce is made by deglazing the pan with white wine and adding lemon juice, capers, and sometimes butter or broth to create a flavorful sauce.
Italian variations of chicken piccata may include regional differences in the specific ingredients or seasonings used. Still, the basic concept of the dish remains the same: thin slices of chicken cooked with a tangy and aromatic sauce.
It's important to note that Italian cuisine is diverse and varies across regions, so specific recipes and preparations can differ. Nonetheless, chicken piccata is a recognized and enjoyed dish in Italian culinary culture, showcasing the country's love for simple yet flavorful combinations of ingredients.
Chicken Piccata Recipe
- Flatten the chicken breasts so they are relatively the same thickness, about ¼ inch thick. You can use a meat hammer or pounder if you have one. If not, try a rolling pin or the side of a can of soup.
- Place the chicken breasts between wax paper or plastic wrap before pounding.
- Season flour with salt and pepper.
- Dredge the chicken breasts into the flour and shake off any extra flour so it doesn't clump in the pan. Be sure the chicken breasts are dry before dredging. You need to do this just before cooking. You can't prep this ahead of time.
- Get your fry pan / skillet hot over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil.
- When the oil and butter are hot but not smoking, add the chicken breasts and pan fry for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes.
- If the pan isn't large enough to cook all four at one time, cook them in two stages or use two pans.
- Remove and reserve chicken to a platter and cover with tin foil to keep warm.
- Deglaze the pan with wine, loosening all of the browned bits stuck to the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, capers and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and reduce the sauce by half.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and whisk to incorporate.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Add half the chopped parsley, reserving the rest for plating.
- Plate the chicken breasts along with your sides, sauce and serve immediately.
More About Supreme Macaroni
Supreme Macaroni was a family-owned business that sold fresh pasta and Italian food products. The company had a long history, established in 1917 by Italian immigrant Alfonso Umberto Federico. Initially, Supreme Macaroni operated as a wholesale pasta manufacturer, supplying pasta to various restaurants and grocery stores in the area.
Eventually, Supreme Macaroni expanded its operations and opened a retail store in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. The store became a popular destination for pasta enthusiasts, offering an array of freshly made pasta varieties, including classics like spaghetti, fettuccine, and ravioli. In addition to pasta, the store also offered other Italian ingredients, such as sauces, cheeses, and specialty food items.
Supreme Macaroni was known for its commitment to quality and traditional Italian craftsmanship. The pasta was made using traditional methods, and the store prided itself on using high-quality ingredients. As a result, customers appreciated the authenticity and taste of the products, making Supreme Macaroni a go-to place for pasta lovers in Manhattan.
Some of My Favorite Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Baked in Cornbread Recipe
- Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Plums Potatoes and Onions
- Quick and Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
- Chicken Mushroom and Spinach Comfort Food Recipe
- Southern California Style Chicken with Rice and Beans Recipe
- Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Artichoke Hearts Recipe
- Simple Chicken - Tomato - Pasta Recipe
- Chicken Korma Recipe