Pan-fried chicken breasts are topped with a creamy lemon-butter sauce spiked with briny capers, all set atop egg noodles in this easy and impressive Chicken Piccata dinner. While it is not a hard recipe to make, pan frying the chicken can take some time (3-5 minutes per side to be exact). It is because of this one factor I am hesitant to label this recipe as a weeknight dinner although it is borderline. There are definitely shortcuts that would help speed up the prep like buying thin chicken cutlets, which would save you the time it takes to place individual chicken breasts into a zip top bag and pounding thin. I use a high sided Dutch oven to fry the chicken so that I can save my stove top and counter from grease splatter. I also use a splatter screen set on top of my Dutch oven to help keep the grease from spitting out. Japanese panko breadcrumbs form a coating on the chicken that becomes shatteringly crisp but still light and tender, not dense and tough. The pan sauce whips up quickly after frying, so the cutlets don't have to wait long. I recommend using good white wine and good butter to whisk into a sauce, this makes a big difference in my opinion.
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, pounded to about 1/4 inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons drained capers
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
Pro Tip! Soaking the thin chicken breasts for just 15 minutes in a zip-top bag containing salt, sugar, and water allows the chicken to remain moist while it browns.
Set three wide, shallow bowls on a work surface. Add flour to the first one, beaten eggs to the second, and panko and Parmesan cheese to the third. Mix panko and Parmesan thoroughly.
Line a rimmed baking dish with parchment paper or foil. Season chicken cutlets all over with salt and pepper. Working with one at a time, dredge a cutlet in flour with your left hand, shaking off excess. Transfer to egg dish, then turn cutlet with your right hand to coat both sides. Lift and allow excess egg to drip off, then transfer to panko mixture. With your left hand, scoop bread crumbs on top of the chicken, gently pressing and turning the chicken to ensure a good layer of crumbs on both sides. Transfer cutlet to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining cutlets.
Fill a large Dutch oven with enough oil to come two-thirds up the side of your chicken. Heat over high heat until shimmering and just shy of smoking, about 375 F on an instant-read thermometer.
Working in batches and using tongs, gently lower cutlets into the pan, laying them down away from you to prevent hot fat from splashing toward you. Adjust the heat as necessary for a steady, vigorous bubble, until bottom side is browned and crisp, about three minutes. Flip cutlets and fry until the other side is browned and crisp, about three minutes longer. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Pro tip! Season with salt right away.
Repeat with remaining cutlets, topping up oil if necessary.
Drain all but one tablespoon of oil from skillet. Add wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cooking until raw alcohol smell has mostly cooked off about two minutes. Add capers and butter, whisking constantly, until butter has melted. Lower heat to medium and continue whisking and reducing until a creamy, emulsified sauce forms (the time this takes will depend on your burner power and the size of your pan). If sauce over-reduces and breaks at any point, add one tablespoon cold water and whisk to emulsify it again. Whisk in lemon juice and parsley, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.
My family loves this served with egg noodles. For the kids, I leave the sauce off of their chicken and add a squirt of ketchup to their plates.