Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chicken Picatta--Barefoot Bloggers

It's Barefoot Bloggers time again; time to make and post the delicious recipes of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. March's first recipe was selected by Lindsey of Noodle Nights and Muffin Mornings and is Chicken Picatta. With the pairing of lemon & chicken, what's not to like? I of course had to "healthy it up" a bit, by omitting all of the butter and adding some whole grains in. My changes are in the "Notes/Results" section below.

The recipe can be found at Food Network or in Barefoot Contessa at Home (pages 96-97). 

Chicken Picatta
Barefoot Contessa at Home, Ina Garten
(Serves 2)

2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 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.

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. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

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

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. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Notes/Results: In order to keep this recipe in line with my healthy eating goals, I decided to make it without any of the butter. To cook the chicken, I used a bit of olive oil spray instead of butter in the pan, browning the chicken and then finishing it in the oven as specified. I used whole wheat flour to dredge the chicken in and I didn't have enough whole wheat panko, so I mixed some regular seasoned panko and whole wheat panko together for the crust. For the sauce, I used a bit of olive oil and a little chicken stock, adding the lemon and wine as specified in the recipe. Because I did not have the butter to "cut" some of the tartness of the lemon, I added about 1 tsp of agave syrup to make it a "sweeter" lemon flavor which worked nicely. If you don't have agave, you could use a little honey or maple syrup instead. The sauce was still very lemony but I like that, and enjoyed how much flavor the sauce added to the breaded chicken. I am sure this would have been a bit more decadent and tasty made Ina's way, with the butter, but I felt better eating the healthy version which was still quite good. If you are looking for a healthy version of a chicken picatta-style dish, I have to say that my favorite recipe is still this one from Clean Living Magazine, but I did enjoy Ina's version too. 

BTW, I served this lemony chicken dish with some broccoli rabe, which was going to be one of this month's Bonus Recipe Challenges; Sauteed Broccolini, (it is actually supposed to be posted next week along with another challenge pick, but since one of these BRC recipes actually should have been announced and posted last month, I didn't feel too bad for being early in the posting). I searched high and low for broccolini and could only find broccoli rabe last week so I used it for the recipe. Yesterday I found baby broccoli or broccolini at Whole Foods so I am going to try it and post it next Thursday as planned. I found the broccoli rabe to be a bit bitter for my tastes but I did enjoy the lemon-garlic sauce. I am looking forward to trying it on the actual broccolini this week. 

All in all, with the changes, it made a good and healthy dinner. Thanks to Lindsey for a good choice. You can see the list of the other Barefoot Bloggers participants and see what they thought of this recipe here.


  1. sounds delicious, I have been finding really nice lemons in the market lately.

  2. I healthed mine up just a bit by baking it completely...I love your version of it!! Looks delicious and so does that broccolini!!

  3. Chicken piccata is one of my favorite dishes, and one that I actually cook really well but I can never make if for my family because my dad hates lemons! I like the idea of adding agave, I will have to try it sometime.

  4. Looks delicious and I love your healthy modifications. Thanks for participating this month!

  5. Looks great! I am really wanting that tuna on the previous post:)

  6. I love chicken picatta, the more lemon the better!
    I didn't even think about the fact that panko might come in whole wheat - imagine the possibilities! Rye, barley..
    I can't get it in our grocery stores. I can go to Wendy's and get Panko crusted fish burgers but I can't buy panko at the store. How is this fair? ;-)
    Dinner looks lovely, so healthy, so perfectly lemony!

  7. I had the broccolini sitting out to serve with the chicken and thought I'd sneak two recipes in at once as well. Then I made and served the chicken and where was the veggie? Still sitting on the counter. I forgot about it completely. Do'h! Your changes sound terrific. I never add all the oil and butter that Ina calls for and it's yet to be missed. For this recipe, I only used 1 TB of butter for the entire dish, and it was plenty.

  8. Haha! I actually thought about YOU when I was making this and working with the wheat flour. I said to myself, "I know Deb is going to use wheat flour too!" Haha. Great minds... they think alike, no?
    ~Delta Whiskey

  9. I really liked this recipe when I made it a while back. Yours looks perfect!

  10. I like all of the healthy twists you added to this dish. I had no idea they even made whole wheat panko...

    I just discovered Clean Eating where I was happy to discover that Julie O'Hara, of the blog A Mingling of Tastes, is an occasional contributor.

    I really liked this recipe and would like to experiment with your healthy tweaks!

  11. Bring on the lemon! Chicken Piccata is a favorite in my house, but I've never tried Ina's recipe, we always put capers in ours. But it looks just as delicious without!

  12. Looks delicious! I'm on a lemon kick-made a chicken with lemon sauce last night. Haven't tried Ina's yet, but you know I love her, so I will soon.

  13. Sounds so light and nutritious. Love reading about your tweaks to make it even healthier.

  14. Yours looks perfect - I am continually impressed with the creative changes you make to lighten up Ina's recipes.

  15. Very neat ideas! That reminds me of a recipe I saw last night for baked chicken tenders breaded with wheat germ, bran, flax seed and breadcrumbs in an Everyday Food magazine that I thought I would have to try. I'll have to see if I can locate some whole wheat panko.

  16. looks healthy and delicious! I love your healthy modifications.


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