Chicken piccata al limone (chicken escalopes with lemon)
- March 2021
- Serves 2-3
- Hands-on time 45 min
Jacob Kenedy, the chef and owner of acclaimed London restaurant Bocca di Lupo, shares his mother Haidee’s family recipe for piccatina al limone.
Jacob says: “The trick is to slice the chicken thinly and brown it well without overcooking. The finished sauce should be a careful balance of lemon, water, butter and salt. Keep tasting and experimenting – it seems impossible to make too much of this dish. The only things to serve it with are smooth, creamy mashed potato, and broccoli or spinach (boiled until completely tender and sodden with oil).”
For another typically Italian dish, make Jacob Kenedy’s tagliatelle with venison ragù.
- 32.6g (14.3g saturated)
- 8.2g (0.4g sugars)
For the mash
- 500g floury potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 100ml milk, boiled
- 30g butter
For the piccatina
- 2 very large, or 3 smaller, free-range skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 500g)
- 2-3 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 70g butter, softened
- 250g spinach (or broccoli or romanesco, cut into florets)
- Extra-virgin olive oil for dressing
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig or 2 tbsp chopped parsley (either/or but not both)
- Juice 1 lemon (about 40ml)
- ½ lemon thinly sliced (optional)
- Heat the oven to its lowest setting (ideally about 70°C if your oven goes that low), and put in a serving platter to warm. First, make the mash: put the potatoes in a pan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for 20 minutes or until tender, then drain and steam dry in a colander. Push the potato through a ricer (if you have one) or mash well by hand, then stir in the boiled milk and the butter. Season well. Cover and keep warm in a serving dish in the oven while you make the piccatina.
- For the piccatina, slice the chicken breasts into 2-4mm thick escalopes (see tip). Heat your widest frying pan over a high heat. Season each piece of chicken with a little salt on both sides, then lightly dust both sides with flour.
- When the pan is hot, add the 2 tbsp olive oil and the breast slices in a single layer (you may need to fry them in a few batches). As they start to cook, add 1 tbsp of the 70g butter – this will help brown the chicken faster. Your goal is to get a good amount of golden brown colouring on both sides of each escalope – don’t turn them until the first side is gorgeously browned.
- Transfer the cooked escalopes to the platter in the warm oven and fry the next batch, adding a bit more butter as and when you need to, but keeping back at least 30g for the sauce.
- While the chicken is cooking, boil the spinach or broccoli in plenty of salted water until tender – this will take 1-3 minutes for spinach, about 6 minutes for broccoli/calabrese and 10-12 minutes for romanesco. Drain well (squeeze or blot the spinach) and drench in extra-virgin olive oil while still hot. Serve at any temperature.
- When the last escalopes are done, add them to the rest of the chicken warming in the oven. Return the pan to the heat and add the rosemary (if using) followed by the lemon juice, lemon slices (if using), 120ml water and the remaining butter.
- Cook down the mixture to a luscious, creamy sauce – taste for seasoning, adding pepper and maybe a touch more salt. If it gets too thick, add a drop more water.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the oven and add it to the sauce. Toss it to coat well, add the parsley (if using), then return the chicken and sauce to the warmed platter. Serve immediately with mash and the greens.
To make an escalope, lay the fillet skin-side down on a board (the skin side is smooth and shiny) with the thick end to the right (or the left, if you’re left handed). If the false fillet (an attached mini fillet) is there, remove it, along with the sinew. Putting your non-dominant hand flat on the breast to steady it, make a horizontal cut to create 2 thin slices. Cover and chill the false fillets to use in a stir-fry or pasta dish another time.
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