Chicken Piccata That's Crispy, Buttery, and Bright as Sunshine

Crisp, juicy, rich, and tart.

8/6/2021 1:00:00 AM

Crisp, juicy, rich, and tart.

Chicken piccata takes a beloved food—pan-fried chicken cutlets—and tops it with a simple but luxurious lemon-butter pan sauce. The result is a flavor and texture festival that blends crispness, juiciness, richness, and tartness all into one.

), season them with salt and pepper, dredge them lightly in flour, then dip them in beaten eggs, and finally coat them in a mixture of panko bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.Panko, a Japanese style of bread crumb, is light and chunky, and when fried, it forms an incredibly crisp and crunchy crust, one that manages to be delicate without a trace of toughness. I'll take them any day over the Italian-style bread crumbs sold in tubes at the supermarket.

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I fry the cutlets in oil until golden on both sides. There's no need to worry about trying to judge the doneness of the chicken—when the coating is fully browned on both sides, the 1/4 inch thick cutlets are guaranteed to be cooked through as well. That's the beauty of thin cutlets: They're always done inside when they're browned on the outside.

To make the pan sauce, drain off all but one tablespoon of frying oil from the skillet, then add a good dose of dry white wine and simmer until the raw alcohol smell has cooked off (it takes a couple of minutes). Toss in some capers for a salty, briny punch, and then add the butter, whisking until it's fully melted.

The trick with the sauce is to simmer it down until it takes on a cream-like consistency, that perfect moment where enough of the wine has cooked down to form a tight emulsion with the butter and the mixture transforms from watery to creamy, but not so much that the emulsion breaks into a something resembling an oil spill (if it does break, though, you can always bring it back together by whisking in a couple tablespoons of water).

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