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Simple Classic Chicken Scallopini Recipe

chicken scallopini on plates
chicken scallopini on plates - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Quick, comforting, and perfectly tangy, chicken scallopini is a classic dish that never gets old. It's always a good idea to have a simple go-to dinner in your back pocket, and thanks to this scallopini recipe brought to us by Julianne De Witt, the constant conundrum of what to whip up on a weeknight will feel a little less daunting. Of course, the real star of the show here isn't necessarily the chicken, but rather the zingy sauce, which features briny capers and fresh lemon juice for the ultimate acidic punch.

"The vibrant lemon, butter, and caper sauce kicks this recipe up a notch from your usual chicken dinner," De Witt says. She also tells us, "This is the first sauce I learned how to make in culinary school, and it's probably the easiest sauce to prepare," so if you want to cook like a pro but keep things relatively simple, there's no better recipe to master than chicken scallopini. Best of all, this dish requires minimal ingredients and only takes 25 minutes to throw together — so even though the results may look restaurant-worthy, the ease in prep can remain your little secret.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Gather The Ingredients For Simple And Classic Chicken Scallopini

ingredients for chicken scallopini
ingredients for chicken scallopini - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Chicken breasts are the star of this scallopini dish, though De Witt notes that you might have another option depending on what's available at your grocery store. "If your grocery store carries chicken cutlets, these can be used, and it will save you from having to butterfly the chicken yourself," she says. As for the rest of the scallopini ingredients, you'll need salt, black pepper, all-purpose flour, olive oil, dry white wine, lemon juice, butter, and capers, as well as some fresh parsley for garnish.

Step 1: Butterfly A Chicken Breast

hand and knife on chicken breast
hand and knife on chicken breast - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

To butterfly the chicken, place a chicken breast on a cutting board. Place one hand on top of the chicken, and use the other hand to hold a knife and slice horizontally through the thickest part of the chicken, stopping before the knife goes all the way through so you can open up the breast like a book.

Step 2: Repeat With The Rest Of The Chicken

butterflied chicken breast on cutting board
butterflied chicken breast on cutting board - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Repeat with the remaining 3 chicken breasts.

Step 3: Pound The Chicken

hand pounding chicken with meat mallet
hand pounding chicken with meat mallet - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Place a sheet of parchment paper over the chicken and pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet until the cutlets are ¼ inch thick.

Step 4: Season It Well

butterflied chicken with salt and pepper
butterflied chicken with salt and pepper - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

Step 5: Optionally Halve The Chicken

knife halving butterflied chicken on cutting board
knife halving butterflied chicken on cutting board - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

If desired, cut chicken breasts in half to create smaller cutlets.

Step 6: Dredge The Chicken In Flour

chicken dredged in flour on plate
chicken dredged in flour on plate - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Add flour to a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour on both sides, shaking off any excess.

Step 7: Heat Some Oil

hand pouring oil into skillet
hand pouring oil into skillet - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Pour olive oil into a large saute pan and place over medium high heat.

Step 8: Brown The Chicken

chicken cooking in skillet
chicken cooking in skillet - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Once hot, add chicken and cook until golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per side.

Step 9: Rest The Chicken

chicken on plate covered with foil
chicken on plate covered with foil - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with foil.

Step 10: Deglaze The Pan

pouring white wine into skillet
pouring white wine into skillet - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Reduce heat to medium, add wine to the pan, and stir, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom.

Step 11: Add Lemon Juice And Butter

butter going into skillet
butter going into skillet - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Add lemon juice and butter, stirring until butter is melted.

Step 12: Add The Finishing Touches

parsley and capers in melted butter
parsley and capers in melted butter - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Stir in capers and parsley, then taste sauce for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Step 13: Sauce Up The Chicken, And Enjoy

chicken scallopini on serving plate
chicken scallopini on serving plate - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with additional parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Why Is It Called Chicken Scallopini?

chicken scallopini on serving plate
chicken scallopini on serving plate - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

If you've never had chicken scallopini before, you might hear the name of the dish and assume that scallops are involved. Alas, no seafood is to be found here (well, at least not in the chicken version), though as De Witt explains, the word scallopini is nevertheless apt for this recipe. "The word scallopini comes from the Italian word 'scaloppine,' meaning 'small scallops,'" she explains. "This refers to the quick cooking of thin slices of meat — usually pork, veal, chicken, or even fish," showing just how versatile this easy cooking technique and crowd-pleasing sauce can be.

So, the word scallopini derives from Italian, which that must make this an Italian dish, right? Technically, yes, it is a classic Italian dish, though scaloppine is most likely derived from a French word, so we can thank Europe more broadly for gracing us with such an exquisite dish.

How Should You Serve Chicken Scallopini?

chicken scallopini with pasta and asparagus
chicken scallopini with pasta and asparagus - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Chicken scallopini makes for an excellent dinner main course, though since the recipe consists of just protein and sauce, there's a good chance you'll want to pair it with other foods to round out the meal. "I like to serve chicken scallopini with a simple side of fettuccine alfredo and steamed veggies," De Witt suggests, adding, "A Caesar salad would pair nicely, as well." You can't go wrong with creamy pasta, and a relatively neutral vegetable such as asparagus would complement the bright flavor of the chicken without overpowering it.

As for when to serve chicken scallopini, that's where the true versatility of this dish shines. "This is a very quick and simple recipe to prepare, making it perfect for a weeknight meal," De Witt says. "But, it's also elegant enough to serve at a dinner party." However you offer it, be sure to sprinkle plenty of extra parsley on top and maybe even have some lemon wedges on hand for a final squeeze of acidity.

Simple Classic Chicken Scallopini Recipe

chicken scallopini on serving platter
chicken scallopini on serving platter - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Prep Time: 10mCook Time: 15mYield: 4 servingsIngredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ¼ cup dry white wine

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ¼ cup butter

  • 2 tablespoons capers

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

Directions

  1. To butterfly the chicken, place a chicken breast on a cutting board. Place one hand on top of the chicken, and use the other hand to hold a knife and slice horizontally through the thickest part of the chicken, stopping before the knife goes all the way through so you can open up the breast like a book.

  2. Repeat with the remaining 3 chicken breasts.

  3. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the chicken and pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet until the cutlets are ¼ inch thick.

  4. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

  5. If desired, cut chicken breasts in half to create smaller cutlets.

  6. Add flour to a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour on both sides, shaking off any excess.

  7. Pour olive oil into a large saute pan and place over medium high heat.

  8. Once hot, add chicken and cook until golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per side.

  9. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with foil.

  10. Reduce heat to medium, add wine to the pan, and stir, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom.

  11. Add lemon juice and butter, stirring until butter is melted.

  12. Stir in capers and parsley, then taste sauce for seasoning and adjust if needed.

  13. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with additional parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.