Chicken piccata is one of the most popular restaurant dishes arounds the world but it can be a very easy and inexpensive recipe to make at home. This version is a low carb version without the flour and it comes together very fast for a weeknight dinner. It is the perfect balance of creaminess from the butter and citrus from the lemon.
WHAT IS CHICKEN PICCATA?
Chicken piccata is a popular Italian chicken dish where the chicken is pounded thin and then usually dredged in flour, pan fried and finished with a sauce made of lemon and capers.
It is the epitome of simple elegance. It’s easy enough to make in your own kitchen at home, yet it feels opulent.
There are many variations of chicken piccata, from sauces that feature tomatoes to heavy cream sauces. The recipe I have chosen to work with is a low carb variation that includes chicken pounded thin and then sauteed in a butter, lemon and caper sauce with a little sherry.
What you get with the recipe below is the essence of traditional piccata flavors, but without the addition of any flour or breading.
Non-Alcoholic Substitute the Sherry in the Piccata
If you don’t have access to any wine whatsoever, or if you prefer to cook without alcohol, there are a few non-alcoholic sherry substitutes to try.
As a substitute for dry sherry, try apple cider vinegar. For small amounts, like a tablespoon or two, you can use it full strength, but if the recipe calls for more, it’s a good idea to dilute the vinegar with water. For example, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup of water would substitute for 1 cup of dry sherry.
You could also use chicken stock or a fruit vinegar as a replacement. The more you substitute however, the further away you are moving from the traditional piccata flavors, so just be aware that your dish will still be wonderful, but slightly different.
Other Substitutes for Sherry
I was out of sherry when I made this dish recently but I did have some dry vermouth on hand. It made an excellent dish and was a good substitute.
Is it Healthy?
Very much so. Chicken is an inexpensive protein, butter is no longer shunned as unhealthy, and the lack of breading means it will be low in carbs. If you prefer to not have any alcohol in your cooking at all, you can substitute chicken broth or vinegars for the sherry or wine.
Where Is Chicken Piccata From?
Piccata is an Italian word meaning larded, but it may have a culinary translation of the French word pique (sharp, as in piquant from the lemon sauce).
Some say it originated in Italy, but as a veal dish rather than chicken. In the U.S. chicken has replaced veal as the more popular choice.
Other research indicates that the dish originated in the United States in the 1930s, it appears to have been created by Italian immigrants at the very least.
The word Piccata is an Italian word, sometimes spelled picatta or pichotta, and the culinary use of the Italian term means “to be pounded flat”.
What Side Dishes Work Well?
If you are not practicing a low carb lifestyle, pasta or smashed potatoes are always a good side dish for chicken piccata. Here are some other ideas:
- Pasta or buttered noodleS
- roasted asparagus in Spring
- fresh tomato slices in Summer
- garlicky greens in Winter
- sauteed spinach in Fall
What Wine to Serve with Chicken Piccata?
I personally love either Pinot Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc, but if you make your piccata creamier a Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio will work also.
Sauvignon Blanc is a high-acid wine that matches the high acid levels found in chicken piccata and will draw out the lemon flavor. Sometimes a high-acid food dish will mute a low-acid wine and make it almost flavorless, so stick with a medium to high-acid wine.
Pinot Blanc, a medium acid white wine, is crisp and has some citrus notes that complement the lemony piccata sauce.lemon sauce.
More Italian-Style Dishes you may Love
- Side dish of Italian flat beans with cherry tomatoes
- Pepperonata with Romesco Sauce
- Fagioli al Fiasco
- Easy Tuscan Stew: white beans, cabbage & Italian sausage
Frequently Asked Questions:
The sauce for chicken piccata is tradionally a thin butter sauce, allowing the capers and lemon to be the main flavors. If you want a thicker sauce, you could always add a cornstarch slurry to the sauce and whisk in thoroughly before adding the chicken back in.
Low carb Chicken Piccata can be made ahead of time, then refrigerated or frozen until ready to bake. It is so quick and easy to make however, that I would just make sure the chicken breasts are thawed out and then take the 15 minutes to put it together fresh.
The chicken can be pounded out and frozen. I would make the sauce fresh.
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Recipe for Low Carb Chicken Piccata
Chicken Piccata without Breading
- mallet or something to pound chicken thin
- 4 chicken breasts pounded thin
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ Cup finely chopped onions or shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tablespoons capers
- ¼ Cup sherry see above post for substitutes
- 1 Cup chicken broth
- 2 lemons juiced
- 1-2 Tablespoon butter cold
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley optional
- lemon wedges for garnish optional
- With a mallet, pound the chicken breasts until thin. Season them with salt and pepper. In a skillet add olive oil and heat over med-high heat. When oil is hot, brown chicken breasts until golden brown.Remove chicken from pan and set aside.4 chicken breasts, 1 Teaspoon salt, 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- In the same pan, sauté onions, garlic and capers over medium heat (about 5 min) When onions are tender, add sherry and bring to a low boil, then add the broth and reduce by half. Add lemon jhuice and finish the sauce with cold butter.1/3 Cup finely chopped onions or shallots, 2 cloves garlic, 2 Tablespoons capers, 1/4 Cup sherry, 1 Cup chicken broth, 2 lemons, 1-2 Tablespoon butter
- Return chicken to pan with the sauce and garnish with parsley and lemon wedges if desired.Serve with a green vegetable and a glass of Pinot Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc!1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley, lemon wedges for garnish
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