Gold Medal Chicken

The Olympics are going strong in Vancouver and so is international week in my kitchen.  Today is my salute to France, I mean Italy.  The dish tonight is Chicken Francese, sometimes called Chicken Francaise.  You understand my confusion.  In any case it’s fabulously easy and fantastically elegant.  No substitutions required.  I served it with some of the leftover Spinach Artichoke Casserole from Monday’s dinner.  The feta and artichokes in the spinach were wonderful with the lemon sauce on the chicken.  So far the Italians have only won silver at the Olympics, but this chicken deserves a gold!

Chicken Francese

Rather than beat the chicken to death I find it easier to slice the chicken lengthwise.  The chicken will be easier to slice if it’s slightly frozen.  It’s less wiggly that way and your top and bottom halves will be more even.  You’ll still want to pound it a little, but this way you get two pieces out of one chicken breast.  And the smaller pieces are a little more elegant for presentation. 

Learning to make a good pan sauce is an invaluable skill.  I took a class several years ago from Chef Martin Gravely and he taught us all about pan sauces.  You can make all kinds of lovely sauces with browned butter, cream, liquor, citrus and any combination thereof.   The key to your success is using the right pan.  If you plan to make a pan sauce for your chicken or pork or beef DO NOT use a non-stick pan.  A little oil and a little butter won’t hurt you.  If you insist on non-stick pans just give up on pan sauces right now.  It will save you some heartache (and crummy sauces) in the end.  Okay, rant over.  Now, you need a heavy saute pan that will heat evenly.  My favorite is the All-Clad Cop-R-Chef 10 inch fry pan.  It’s big enough to cook for 2-4 people at one time without being unwieldy.  See the My Favorite Things page for more information on that. It has to not be a non-stick pan because you need all the yummy bits at the bottom of the pan to flavor your sauce.  One more tip before I pass you on to Tyler Florence for the Francese sauce.  If you want to thicken the sauce a little make a little slurry with flour and water and whisk it into the sauce.  Turn off the heat under the pan before you add the butter.  Adding the butter at the last will give your sauce a beautiful shine.

Good? VERY
Easy? VERY
Good for company? Indeed. A very elegant way to serve chicken. But know that you’ll need to do this at the last minute and it produces a fair amount of smoke.
Special shopping? Nope.

Chicken Francese


  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, with rind, cut in thin rounds
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them. Pound the chicken breasts with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, beat the eggs with 3 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet.

Dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden, turning once. Remove the chicken cutlets to a platter and keep warm.

Toss the lemon slices into the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the wine, broth, and lemon juice, simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly. Add a little flour to thicken.  Turn off heat and stir in butter.  Pour sauce over the chicken and place lemon slices on top.  Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.


One Response to “Gold Medal Chicken”

  1. Brandy Says:

    Sounds fab. Gotta try this recipe.

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