Friday, September 25, 2009

Lidia's Chicken Francese - An Italian American Classic

I don't know if this is a popular dish in Italy but I do know that there isn't a restaurant or a pizzeria that doesn't make this dish. I rarely order it though. Not because I don't like this dish, I love it, but I don't like to order things out that I think are too easy or that I make at home. Who wants to pay for a dish you know you're capable of making for half the price? Not me!

Whenever I make francese, piccata, marsala or saltimbocca, I always use chicken cutlets (sometimes labeled scallopine) but this time I cut the chicken breasts myself. Every time I do it I realize that it's just a waste of time. I'm not sure if it saves money or not but I don't think it's worth it. More dishes to clean and bleach (I bleach everything that touches chicken) and it's not the easiest thing to do. I ended up tearing them a bit and had trouble cutting them evenly. Maybe it will be easier for you but I much rather use cutlets that are nice and thin and easy.

This recipe comes from Lidia's Italian American Kitchen by Lidia Bastianich. It's on of my favorite cookbooks because it has so many classics. If you're ever watched Lidia on tv you know how awesome she is. She is such a pleasure to watch, she's always so relaxed and her recipes are incredible. Here's one of my favorites.

Lidia's Chicken Francese

Source: Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen
by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

Serves 4


2 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning the sauce
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning the sauce
4 servings Veal, Chicken, Turkey or Pork Scaloppine (2 breasts halved and pounded or 1 package cutlets)
all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vegetable oil
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lemon, cut into very thin slices, pits removed
1/2 cup dry white wine
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley


1. Whisk the eggs, milk, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a wide bowl until blended. Dredge the scallopine in flour to coat both sides lightly and tap off the excess flour. Heat the olive and vegetable oils in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip into the egg batter as many of the scallpine as will fit in the pan without touching. Let excess batter drip back into the bowl and place them into the skillet. Fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Adjust the heat as the scallopine cook so they brown slowly and evenly, with a steady bubbling. (If the heat is too high, the egg coating will scorch and the bits of batter that stick to the pan will burn, turning the sauce bitter.) Drain the scallopine on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining scallopine and egg coating.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and pour off the oil. Carefully wipe out the pan with a wad of paper towels and add half the butter. When the butter is melted, return the pan to the heat and scatter the lemon slices over the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring gently occasionally, until the lemon slices are golden, about 3 minutes. Scoop the lemon slices out and set them aside. Add the remaiing 3 tablespoons of butter, the wine, and the lemon juice and bring to a vigourous boil. Boil until the liquid is syrupy, 3-4 minutes. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Tuck the scallopine into the sauce and simmer until the sauce is velvety and the scallopine are heated through, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and divide the scallopine among warm serving plates. Spoon some of the sauce over each serving and decorate the tops with the reserved lemon slices.


Delicious Dishings said...

I feel the same way about ordering stuf fin restaurants... unless I'm really having a craving, I'd rather not order something I can easily make myself.

I've never made Chicken Francese, nor do I think I've had it. It seems like chicken picatta minus the capers... are there any other major differences?

Bob said...

Ugh, I hate making cutlets too. I always, always screw them up somehow.

This dish looks awesome, I watch Lidia all the time. I don't think I've seen her do this, but I doubt she does her whole cookbook on tv. Heh.

Tiffany said...

Hi Michele - I LOVE your site! Thank you for commenting on mine, or I would never have found this wonderful blog! I LOVE Lidia's show , and all her recipes. She has a restaurant in my hometown of Pittsburgh, that I try to frequent as often as possible!!

Dionne said...

I love this recipe! It sounds really rich in flavor, I can't wait to try it!

Lisa said...

Love Lidia! And I too agree, why order out what can be made at home for less. And sometimes made better too!! Looks yummy :)

DDpie said...

Oh I think yours looks way better than my marsala LOL but then it's you, so it should hahahahaha

DutchBakerGirl said...

This looks fantastic! Now I have to make this, too---my list is getting long.LOL The list of Italian dishes I love is getting much longer than my Dutch one....

teresa said...

this chicken looks so good, i love all the flavors, better then what you could get at a restaurant if you ask me!

Dajana said...

I love the chicken prepared this way, my mom prepared it often.
I think here in Italy they call it Pollo alla Parigina, but not sure. I think I've seen it only once in a restaurant, and I remember how my MIL was surprised and I had to explain to her how to make it :)

Dajana said...

Forgot to add, here the cutlets cost almost twice as much as breasts. A tip that might help cutting the breasts more easily: if you have frozen meat, cut it before it thaws completely, and use a long sharp knife.

Chef Chuck said...

Melt in your mouth goodness!! :)

Unknown said...

i love chicken and lemons. I've never heard of Francese but man does this look good!!

Spryte said...

Michele... this looks delish!!

Joseph said...

GREAT RECIPE! Im in the middle of cooking it now with my grandmother as i write this lol , we are also italian. Always great to try new recipes though, Thanks =)

Editor for Blog

Phoenix said...

this sounds fantastic can't wait to try this recipe. Just out of curiosity I see that you plated it with rice. Is it plain white rice, or like a rice pilaf? Any other good side dish pairings for this chicken?

Phoenix said...

this sounds fantastic can't wait to try this recipe. Just out of curiosity I see that you plated it with rice. Is it plain white rice, or like a rice pilaf? Any other good side dish pairings for this chicken?

bjwright said...

Recently I had lunch with friends at Lidia's in Pittsburgh. I never order the lemon chicken because I simply can't pass up the pasta trio, but luckily my friend ordered it and I got to sample it. I wanted to lick the plate it was so good! This recipe is so good and tastes just like Lidia's lemon chicken in her restaurant. The sliced lemons are amazing!!! I'm so glad to have this recipe!

bjwright said...

I recently had lunch with friends at Lidia's in Pittsburgh. I never order the lemon chicken because I can't pass up the pasta trio. Luckily my friend ordered it and let me taste her chicken. It was so delicious I wanted to lick the plate! This recipe is spot on for Lidia's lemon chicken in the restaurant. I'm so happy to have this recipe and the lemon slices are amazing!

bjwright said...

So delicious!