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Butterflied Chicken Breasts (Chicken Piccata)

Butterflied Chicken Breasts (chicken Piccata)
This very quick way to sauté moist, tender chicken is worthy of serving company or simply cooking a quick meal at college. Shannon was served this a lot on her mission. Butterflying the breasts is faster than pounding the meat thin with a mallet. It makes them about a consistent 1-centimeter thick, which ensures even cooking. Serve the chicken breasts plain or with any of the sauces that follow this recipe.  If making a pan sauce, turn the oven to 200º before you start this recipe and place the cooked chicken in the warm oven while making the pan sauce.

4 chicken breast cutlets, organic * (boneless, skinless about 1½ pounds), trimmed, tendons removed, rinsed, and thoroughly dried
Salt and ground black pepper
¼ C flour, rice flour or coconut flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper, freshly ground
1½ TBL unsalted butter
1½ TBL olive oil

1.     Rinse chicken in cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Lay a chicken breast on the cutting board, and with a very sharp knife, start on the long side of the breast and cut the meat in half horizontally, stopping about ½-inch from the opposite side of the meat. Open the breast like a book, with the attached side acting like the spine of a book. Repeat with remaining breasts.
2.     Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of cutlets (make sure the cutlets are dry).  Measure flour onto plate or pie tin.  Press cutlets, one at a time, into flour.  Pick up cutlet from tapered end; shake gently to remove excess flour (alternatively, put flour, salt and pepper in a ziploc bag and shake one breast at a time in this, shaking off excess flour).
3.     Heat half the butter and half the oil in large 12- to 14-inch heavy-bottomed skillet.  Swirl skillet over medium-high heat until butter has melted.  Continue to heat skillet until butter stops foaming and has just begun to color.  Lay 2 cutlets in skillet, tenderloin side down. (repeat this later with other two cutlets)
4.     Maintain medium-high heat, so fat sizzles but does not smoke.  Sauté butterflied breasts until browned on one side, about 4 minutes.  Turn cutlets with tongs (a fork will pierce meat and drain juices); cook on other side about 3 minutes until meat feels firm when pressed and clotted juices begin to emerge around tenderloin.  Saute remaining 2 chicken breasts in same manner. Reserve the golden fond in the pan to make sauce of your choice (it is really important to the flavor and consistency of the sauce).
5.     Serve immediately, or, if making one of the sauces, transfer to 200º oven until sauce is ready.

Lemon-Caper Sauce
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ C dry white wine (I don't use)
½ C chicken broth
1 TBL lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 TBL capers
2 TBL butter, unsalted
1 TBL chopped parsley

1. Add garlic to the fond in the same pan that you used to sauté the chicken.  Deglaze with the wine and simmer for a few minutes until the wine is reduced to about 2 TBL. Add broth, lemon juice, and capers. Cook for a few minutes more. Place chicken cutlets into the pan to warm through. Remove chicken to a warm serving platter. Add butter and parsley to sauce in the pan and swirl to combine. Pour over chicken on platter and serve. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs.


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