Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chicken Schnitzel with Lemon Caper Sauce

Chicken Schnitzel with Lemon Caper Sauce

Serves: 4

Chicken Schnitzel with Lemon Caper Sauce

Traditional Weiner Schnitzel, a breaded veal scaloppini, is a classic dish served with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I actually prefer to make it with chicken breast that is coated in Japanese panko crumbs, which are now available in the Asian section of most grocery stores. They make the extra crunchy exterior that works so well with a quick brown butter sauce of capers, lemon juice and parsley. This same technique would work equally well with traditional veal or turkey.

You will find this to be an extremely easy and quick mid-week meal. As always, the quality of the outcome depends on top quality ingredients. Quality chicken breasts are key in this recipe – you will want it nice fat boneless chicken breast halves. In San Diego we are blessed with access to local farmers, humanely raising chickens for distribution at Farmers Markets. I also love Rosie Organic Chicken, a free-range chicken farm located in Petaluma and Organic Smart Chicken located in Nebraska. Rosie’s are distributed on the West Coast – they can be found easily in grocers featuring organic products. Smart chickens are widely distributed across the US.  Both are certified organic and humane.
  • 4 – 6oz chicken breast halves, skinless and boneless
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1½ C panko crumbs
  • 6 Tb (3 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp small capers, drained, rinsed and minced
  • 2 Tb fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tb chopped Italian parsley
  • Canola Oil
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sliced – quartered – fresh lemon – garnish, optional

Trim away any fat or sinew on 4 – 6oz skinless, boneless chicken breast halves. If the small filet is still attached to the underside of the breast, remove by pulling it off. Cut away the sinew that runs through the fillet. Set aside.

To butterfly a chicken breast, place it on the cutting surface, skin side up with the thickest side of the breast towards the sharp knife. Carefully place your non-cutting hand over the chicken breast to hold it in place. Hold the knife so that the blade is horizontal to the cutting surface in the center of the breast. Draw the knife almost through the breast, splitting the breast horizontally, but leave the far side of the breast attached. Open up the breast like a book. Repeat with the remaining breasts.
Butterflying the chicken breast
Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Top with a butterflied chicken breast and then cover with a second piece of plastic wrap. Pound the breast with a smooth surface meat pounder. Lift the plastic, rotate the breast 45 degrees, replace plastic and pound again. The finished scaloppini will be about 6-inches by 7-inches and even thickness. Set aside and repeat with the remaining breasts.

To cook the schnitzel, season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Spread 1 C flour in a large dish. Place 3 beaten eggs in a large dish and 1½ C panko crumbs in another large dish. Preheat oven to 250 degree F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
 Put ¼-inch of canola oil in a large frying pan. It may be necessary to cook the chicken in a few batches. Be sure the oil is quite hot before adding the chicken to sauté. If it is not hot enough, the chicken may stick to the pan. Quickly dip both sides of the butterflied chicken into flour, then egg and finally panko. 

Breaded chicken
Immediately place into the oil. Do not crowd them. As the bottom browns, tilt the pan and using a large spoon, baste the top of the schnitzels with the hot oil. This will begin to cook the top and will shorten cooking time once turned. When the first side is browned, turn the piece over. Adjust the heat as necessary. The total cooking time should be about 4 minutes. Remove the schnitzels to the paper towel and place into the warm oven. Continue to coat and cook the remaining pieces.

As you finish the last batch of chicken, place a small saucepan with 6 Tb unsalted butter over medium high heat. Let the butter bubble and cook until it is browned. It will be a nutty color, however be careful not to let the butter burn. Add 2 tsp of chopped, rinsed capers, 2 Tb fresh lemon juice and 1 Tb chopped parsley to the butter. Stir for a few seconds.
Browning the butter
Lemon caper sauce 
Arrange the chicken schnitzels on individual serving plates or a platter, and then pour the hot browned butter over the schnitzels.  Serve with sliced lemon if desired.

We love this dish.  It is quick and simple. Normally pairing chicken with wine is a breeze: chardonnay, pinot noir, Beaujolais or even an aged Cabernet Sauvignon.  But this dish with its wonderful lemon sauce could compete with the reds. I would love it with Champagne, especially a rose, but an unoaked Chardonnay, Riesling or a California Sauvignon Blanc would be divine. No matter what you choose, make this dish. You will love it too!



  1. That is divine looking. All you photos are. I haven't tried the recipes I just drool at the photos. I would love to make the chicken scallopini.

    1. Thank you! Its even tastier to eat. :-) Give it try - you will not be disappointed

  2. Love your photography. Can yo explain it a little?

  3. I am essentially a self-taught photographer with the assistance of a one day class with a nearby professional photographer. (see pics with duck breast and mushroom salad)
    Since then, practice, practice and practice some more. I am so glad you like the pics. I am using Nikon camera,D40X with 18 - 200 VR and recently added a Nikkon 40 mm Macro lens to get the drooling close-ups. I use natural light for the most part, being blessed with California sunshine. However I recently received an external light: Flashpoint and a book: "Food Photography" by Nicole Young.

  4. It looks so crispy and perfectly cooked. Your pictures make my mouth water.

  5. So glad you like the look! Taste is amazing...and so easy