The Single Best Thing to Cook With Chicken Breasts

Chicken francese is quick, lemony, buttery Italian-American comfort food.

Comments: 61

  1. I love this dish! Vicino's in Silver Spring, MD makes a great version, with lots of chopped garlic in the sauce, and chopped fresh parsley on top. Then I sprinkle it with parmesan cheese at the table. Yum!

  2. @Alyson Reed Washington, DC Your comment reads to me, as if you liked all the added ingredients, except for the chicken. Sorry, if I am wrong.

  3. More true to the look and feel of this dish instead of veggies for vegetarians, would be a 4x4 inch slice of tofu, dredged in seasoned flour. That's how I would make it for my wife.

  4. I really enjoy seafood francese filet of sole, scallops, and shrimp in a slightly tart lemon butter sauce.

  5. Any idea of calorie, salt and fat counts per serving? All that oil and butter. Hmmm.

  6. I tried to add the wine suggestions as a note on iPad but the “add note” button is grayed out. Would be nice if wine pairings from article features were added in the visible comments with the recipe in the Cooking app.

  7. "... finding a higher purpose for boneless, skinless chicken breasts is a lifelong mission". -- Indeed, this is a noble mission for the writers of this Section who show such a strong predilection for chicken recipes. Chicken fried under lemon slices looks like an excellent way of improving the taste of this, after all, pedestrian bird. In the video, I noticed a fork and a rather large spoon, but no knife. I take this to be an omission, but not a recommendation to spear the chicken in the fork and bite pieces off it.

  8. @Tuvw Xyz The breasts are thin enough that you should be able to cut through it with a fork. They are ideally about 1/4" thick.

  9. @Tuvw Xyz My sense is that the meat is fork tender which would not require a knife to cut and the spoon is for ladling sauce over the chicken cutlet. I thought the final photo taken by Monica Pierini was so alluring and tempting, I am going to make this dish for dinner tonight. I can practically smell the reduction sauce as I type.

  10. Nutritional information reports 1100+ kcal/serving! An error? If not, that's outrageously high for part of a meal.

  11. @Kate The 1129 calories is for 4 servings, not 1 ... at least if I'm reading the Nutritional Info item on the recipe page which makes far more sense (and if I enter the items and quantities into a 3rd party calorie calculator).

  12. Yup, good old Rochester and it's chicken French. As the article says it is on the menu of nearly every American style restaurant in the city and surrounding areas. Thing is, no one knows why. I never ever ever ordered it when I was growing up there. The one thing the Rochestarians DO go crazy for is their sacred Friday Fish Fry. A fish fry is popular all over the US, especially the Great Lakes towns, but Rochester goes nuts with it. Whacky little city with some truly whacky food habits.

  13. I look forward to trying this recipe because it's so easy and simple and I got all of the ingredients for it. The video is great too!!

  14. Because my Dad was not a big veal fan and my Mom was more than happy to save money, we ate this dish with chicken all the time growing up. Although neither of my parents are Italian American, growing up on Staten Island you needed to be able to make all the basic Italian American dishes or you were considered a child abuser for not feeding your family "decent." (Only joking - who wouldn't want to eat so well?) Personally, I do prefer the veal version and make a regular trip across the river to Cosettas in St. Paul to procure fresh veal.

  15. I grew up in Rochester, New York and ordered veal francese at the Brown Derby (and elsewhere in Rochester) many times. Still a great dish, even when made with chicken. James Cianciola refers to cooking at a restaurant near the Eastman Theater, which might have been Eddie’s Chop House, or Lou DeLeo’s Cafe.

  16. After seeing your picture, I was looking forward to an informative article. But when I saw the words that Rochester is a city with an illustrious history of great IA cooking, I had to laugh. I lived off and on in Rochester from 1976-2015, so I have some history in the restaurants. The Brown Derby was good in its time, but it is long gone, and the only good Italian restaurant today is Luciano’s. As for the rest of them, their idea of good Italian is lots of heavy pasty with veal Parmesan and a big clamshell container for leftovers. It kind of fits in a city where the local restaurant column is titled Cheap Eats.

  17. A very long and opinionated article for one recipe. I miss Mark Bittman.

  18. Grilled, juicy, boneless skinned chicken breasts are possible if you use high quality, organic chicken breasts. I've always found the taste and texture of organic chicken to be far preferable--no matter what the cooking method--to that mass market factory farm stuff. Marinate for an hour or so--I use avocado oil with a little olive oil thrown in for flavor, a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, some finely diced garlic, paprika and herbs--and do not overcook. An instant-read thermometer will ensure the internal temp is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you know your grill, and with enough practice grilling chicken breasts, you'll probably be able to tell just by looking and prodding whether the chicken is done.

  19. Swoon!

  20. Chicken francese is lovely, but the single best use of boneless, skinless chicken breasts is pollo al burro, as made at the Trattoria Sostanza in Florence. A couple of plump cutlets, some flour, egg, salt and pepper, and a stick (yes, a stick) of the best butter you can get; sear, then braise -- heaven in 20 minutes.

  21. Always European centered approaches. Chicken mole has it over this one.

  22. @Lillian That's like comparing pizza sauce to ketchup.

  23. Recipes that you feature in an article your Wednesday cooking section should be available to newspaper subscribers. They should not be restricted to people who subscribe to your Cooking app. I understand that you're interested in broadening your Cooking subscriber base, but that's just annoying.

  24. @Amy I'm a subscriber who ponied up the extra few bucks for access to this content (as well as extra for access to crosswords). * I think this is one of the top food sites out there. Sam and the whole crew put quality content * I have about 300 recipes saved and I like the feature that I can save recipes from other sites to my NYT recipe box.

  25. @Amy I agree with Amy. If a food article and recipe are a part of an issue, which as a subscriber I've paid for, I should be allowed access to the entire article. I understand charging for access to the entire database and I agree with that process, but I'm not ok with nickel and diming.

  26. @Amy I totally agree with Amy. This restriction makes no sense. If I had bought any other online paper or even the physical paper, I get access to the recipes. So why restrict them? Restricting recipes past a certain date -- e.g. a year ago - makes sense for people who want unlimited access - but not immediately.

  27. Simple, delicious as advertised. But one quibble, the contention that there is really no other good way to cook a skinless breast....nonsense. Marinating breasts and grilling them quickly --rather than ruining them by overlooking like most backyard amateurs -- makes for outstanding, juicy, fork tender results.

  28. I first had this in New Jersey in a little hole in the wall Italianrestaurant and it was so good. I tried for years to figure out what is was. Finally did and I love it. The chicken melts in your mouth. On occasion, I add capers or articoke hearts.

  29. Agree. Capers and artichokes add a wonderful zestiness. Then asparagus and a yummy starch to capture the sauce (e.g., noodles, thin pasta) make this a perfect company dish.

  30. Yup, here in Rochester it is a stable on almost every menu. Universally loved in these parts, however, I still get the veal!

  31. @Jon b I prefer the veal too, but I find that it’s harder and harder these days to find the ‘light pink veal’ that I prefer, but easier for me to pick up the Bell and Evans chicken that’s more accessible for me to find.

  32. Chicken production: “. . . in both magnitude and severity, the single most severe, systematic example of man's inhumanity to another sentient animal." --John Webster Emeritus Professor of Animal Husbandry School of Veterinary Sciences University of Bristol, UK

  33. @JustInsideBeltway No disrespect intended toward you and the professor, but "sentient"?

  34. Ummm ... chickens are not sentient.

  35. @Joe I agree with Joe. Neither “Justinside”nor the professor appear to be sentient. Oh, sorry, he meant the chickens. My error.

  36. Doesn't the butter go right to your backsides though? We make a lemon chicken recipe with lemon and capers that's divine. The chicken is coated in egg and lightly seared in the pan but I haven't noticed my peach emoji expanding.

  37. I agree with Amy. "Recipes that you feature in an article your Wednesday cooking section should be available to newspaper subscribers. They should not be restricted to people who subscribe to your Cooking app. " This applies to the Sunday Magazine food articles also. After reading the lengthy article the recipe is blocked. If my subscription includes the article the recipes that accompany it should be accessible too.

  38. I’m pretty sure if you’re a subscriber to NYT, you can get the cooking app for free — with all the recipes, comments and email extras. It worked for me and I use it constantly. Go to your app provider and search NYT cooking. You’ve been missing out, I think.

  39. @JA Not so. I thought the same thing but I tried and then re-read the conditions. If you have a subscription to NYT and you stored recipes in your recipe box before the change in access you can look at them and SOME new recipes. BUT many recipes are restricted to people who have a subscription to the "Cooking" section.

  40. @Cathy My experience also. Most of the recipes I've saved in my recipe box can no longer be seen without an additional subscription to "cooking".

  41. i just made it last night. my kids prefer it over fried cutlets but honestly, way too many words to read for chicken francese.

  42. In Argentina, where veal is so inexpensive, cooks serve meals using chicken for company or special occasions. Chicken is more expensive and cooks use the same recipes.

  43. I look to the food writing of Clementine Paddleford when I’m hungry. But that chicken looked as delicious as anything I’ve seen recently. Yum

  44. It’s outrageous that subscribers can’t view the recipie. It very well might be the final death knell of the nyt . We subscribers are literally the last / men/ women and children standing . It’s official : the nyt remains stubbornly self destructive .

  45. I’m a subscriber and the link worked for me. The NYT cooking app is fantastic. Call tech support.

  46. It's hidden in a link at the bottom marked, cryptically: "Recipe: Chicken Francese." I know, right?

  47. @Carolyn you are absolutely right. While the NYT is allowed to erect paywalls (and suffer the consequences), they 1) emptied the value from the main site's food section, and 2) prevented those of us who for years used that site and saved recipes to it, from accessing those saved recipes now that they're charing money for using it. The right way to do it is to: 1) offer a special package for long time users (small premium to the main subscription and 2) allow us to access and copy recipes we saved to the dedicated site and finally 3) post the recipe in the article. I for one will not pay for the food site. Will no longer visit articles in the food section. And will have a serious reconsideration of my subscription overall.

  48. Many NYC pizzerias make a great Chicken Francese, even when the pizza is mediocre.

  49. I was coming up in the Rochester restaurant scene in my teens in the late seventies and this dish, by then called "Francaise" and pronounced "Fron-say" was still on every higher-end restaurant in town. It was supposed to be a secret, but for $50, an owner could easily find a line cook to demonstrate it. Here is my potted firsthand account of that, along with a slightly healthier recipe from my very short lived blog on the subject:

  50. Made this last night. Way too lemony! Calls for the juice of one lemon. Obviously, lemons come in different sizes and mine was on the larger side. Recipe would be better if lemon juice is measured in Tablespoons, at least for US readers.

  51. The key to tender chicken breasts is in technique. I adapted this from one of Elizabeth David's cookbooks: Juicy tender chicken breasts every time- BTW without dredging with flour, this is how I cook chicken breasts to serve cold in salads. 1. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness between pieces of wax paper. If breast are very thick slice down the middle until almost but not quite through, open up and then pound. LIGHTLY dredge in salted flour 2. Melt butter or heat oil on LOW HEAT ( this is important) 3. Lay each breast in pan, do not let touch one another keep heat LOW 4. Watch carefully when bottom of breast JUST STARTS to turn golden, flip each one 4-5 minutes. 5. Watch carefully, when second side colors, check for doneness by cutting a small slit with paring knife in deepest part of breast. 6. Remove to a warm plate and stash in a warm oven 7. Deglaze the pan with liquid (cream, wine, etc) scrapping up the "delicious brown bits". 8. Return the chicken to the pan, season and serve

  52. The secret to this dish at the " Brown Derby " was to use Cream Sherry in place of white wine. I was told this by the owner 40 years ago

  53. I made this tonight and it kicked my butt. My kids liked it though but it was too much effort for a meh dinner. As is typical when I cook it looked like a hurricane passed through our small kitchen but my lovely wife cleaned up afterwards. I won't go to this trouble again. My wife makes a similar dish with lemon and capers that's a lot easier, healthier, and tastier so I think we'll stick with that. This was the first time I've ever breaded with flour and pan fried like this and I was in the weeds.

  54. I agree with Hollis. A lot of work for an very average outcome. Too much clean.

  55. Mario’s Restaurant on High Ridge Road in Stamford, Connecticut makes a fabulous veal or chicken Francese and when I’m in the area, I always stop in for the Francese or Shrimp Parm. I love the lemon butter sauce so much that I request the sauce on the pasta too. A night of no calories! Yeah, right.

  56. The picture looked so good that I used one of my precious 6 free visits a month to get to it. I am peeved that I then had to open a NYT Food account to access the recipe. After all that, my daughter better not roll her eyes when I serve this!

  57. i want the recipe, now

  58. If I make this again, I will do some tweaking. Some of my observations are also noted in comments by other readers. The 35-minute cooking time is not realistic if cooking in batches. There is too much lemon juice in the recipe and also too much broth. It might be better to cook the sauce separately while the chicken is cooking in the hope of getting more crispiness and less sogginess. In other words, do not reheat the chicken in the sauce. I used a non-stick pan which may have been a mistake. Still, it was better than the chicken francese I had once in Florida which was essentially chicken with scrambled egg coating.

  59. I have lost the ability to print out a recipe from NYT FOOD. this really inconvenient. Please let me know what I am doing or failing to do. Thanks Joe

  60. @Josephey Try emailing the article to yourself, then print it from there. Or cut and print.

  61. @Joseph If you use Chrome browser, they have a widget called ‘Print what you like’ that will do that for you and you can select no images too to save on ink!