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My Cooking Love Affair: When Life Throws You a Lemon I Make… Chicken Piccata

To be completely honest with you…when life throws me a lemon, I’d rather chuck it right back (haha). However, in tonight’s case, I decided to not waste a lemon and make a damn good Chicken Piccata instead. Thank you Barefoot Contessa.

Some people just don’t know how to appreciate a simple meal and get lost in the frenzy of ingredients just for the fun of it.
I sometimes go through this stage, in fact, I did just this week. I followed a tip to substitute tarragon with fennel seeds in a chicken salad recipe. I thought I was so cool and smart, until I tasted it. It was god awful to say the least. It completely threw off the texture as well as gave it a weird licorice-like after taste. Nasty, especially when combined with chicken and mayo. I should have stayed simple and either not included the tarragon (it only required a couple teaspoons) or waited to make the recipe until I had it.

Substitutes are great when used properly, but one wrong choice can change the dish entirely (and in my case, a not-so-good way).
I love the Barefoot Contessa’s (Ina Garten) recipes because they are simple. You don’t always need a million ingredients to make an amazing and impressive dish. She’s utilizes a small amount of complimentary ingredients which accent the flavors in a well-done dish.

Citrus, especially lemons, always seems to go well with chicken. In my case, it made even more sense since lemons are one of the last fresh ingredients I have left in my fridge.

This is a super easy meal to throw together. It’s a lot like my Parmesan Chicken Fingers recipe, where you batter the chicken by coating it in flour, then dip it into the egg mixture and lastly cover it with the seasoned bread crumbs before you cook it. 

It was very simple and super fast (my specialty). Only took about 15 minutes for prep AND cooking time. 

I also would like to share that I have made progress! I used a rolling pin to flatten the chicken rather than my fist. I guess I’m too busy chucking lemons to take my anger out on my poor chicken. 

Chicken Picatta


  • 1 chicken breast (divided- cut chicken breast in half)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons of water
  • 1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1.5 lemons), save the lemon halves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine- I used a Chardonnay
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving -unfortunately I didn’t have any.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate.
  4. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat.

  6. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
  7. For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes.
  8. Off the heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and swirl to combine.
  9. Discard the lemon halves and serve.

Check out more recipes from Chef Maggie at her blog http://www.mycookingloveaffair.com/

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