You can almost guarantee that if a recipe is Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa), it’s gonna be good. Her unconventional Chicken Piccata is one of my long-time favorites. The chicken breasts are lightly breaded, quickly pan fried and finished in the oven. The sauce is silky and tart, buttery yet light. It’s quick, easy, and kid-friendly yet elegant enough for guests. As is, the recipe is good. But, I made a few changes to make it a bit healthier. Mainly, I decreased the salt, swapped out seasoned breadcrumbs for whole wheat panko and fresh herbs, decreased the serving size and cut the fat and it’s still SO good and satisfying. The best part about this recipe is it’s easy and the chicken comes out perfectly juicy every time.
Nutrition Note: Did you know that typical pre-seasoned breadcrumbs contain partially hydrogenated oil, preservatives, anti-caking agents and numerous types of sugar? Totally unnecessary! I like to substitute whole wheat panko (like these by Kikkoman) because they are super crunchy, are less processed and contain way less sodium.
Here’s my version, (adapted from) Ina Garten:
1 pound (2) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally
1 ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg
½ tablespoon water
¾ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, and/or basil)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
½ cup dry white wine (I use sauvignon blanc)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place each chicken breast piece between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to ¼-inch thick. Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.
Mix the flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper in a shallow plate. In a small bowl, beat the egg and ½ tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons fresh herbs, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper on a third plate. Dredge each chicken breast lightly in the flour, shaking off the excess. Next, dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.
Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 2 chicken breast pieces, cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until browned. Remove and place on prepared sheet pan. Add remaining teaspoon olive oil, cook remaining chicken pieces and add them on the prepared sheet pan. Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
For the sauce: Wipe out the skillet with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add garlic, sauté for 20 seconds, then add the lemon juice, wine, reserved lemon halves, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Boil over medium heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast half on each plate. Top each with sauce and remaining herbs.
Serving size: (3 ounces chicken with sauce) Calories: 310 Total Fat: 14 g Saturated Fat: 6 g Cholesterol: 138 mg Sodium: 524 mg Carbohydrate: 13 g Fiber: <1 g Sugars: 2 g Protein: 28 g
Serving suggestion: Serve over mashed potatoes, cauliflower puree or whole grain rice with a side of roasted veggies or green salad.