Chicken Cutlets with Caper Sauce

Sometimes, especially after the holidays, all you want is a light, good meal. “Light” as in you’re trying to cut back, and “good” as in, can we make it taste good even though it’s light? This chicken cutlet recipe, with a caper shallot sauce, is just that, flavorful, filling, and won’t weigh you down. The idea for it came from my friend Peg Poswall, who is simply brilliant in the kitchen. It’s sort of like a chicken piccata, but without the breading, and it is served with fresh arugula, thinly sliced fennel, and shaved Parmesan. Great for lunch or a simple dinner.

Chicken Cutlets with Caper Sauce Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serve 4.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 chicken breast halves, pounded very thin, and then cut in half, so that you have 4 thin cutlets
  • Salt
  • 1 large shallot, minced, about 2 Tbsp
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 2-3 cups arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, shaved thin
  • 16-24 paper thin shavings of parmesan cheese


1 Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a stick-free sauté pan over medium-high heat until almost smoking, about 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle salt over the pounded chicken breasts and sear them for 2-3 minutes per side in the hot pan, working in batches so that you do not crowd the pan. Remove the chicken breasts and cover with foil to keep them warm.


2 Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the shallots and cook 1 minute, stirring often. Do not let them burn, and if they begin to brown rapidly, turn the heat down. Add the garlic and cook another 45 seconds to 1 minute, stirring often.


3 Add the white wine and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the capers and red pepper flakes and boil until the wine is almost gone, about 2-4 minutes.

4 To serve, mix the arugula and shaved fennel and put some on each plate. Arrange some shaved parmesan over them. Lay a piece of chicken on each salad, then top with a little of the sauce. Serve hot.

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Showing 4 of 14 Comments

  • Anna

    This recipe would also be very good with medallions of pork tenderloin pounded thin, maybe even better than factory farmed chicken breasts (which these days too often seem to have the taste and texture of wet paper towels).

  • Abbey

    I’ve made a very similar dish before using white fish fillets instead of chicken (no fennel though, will have to try that next time!). It is delicious, especially with a teaspoon or so of zest and a squeeze of lemon juice added to the caper sauce for brightness.

  • Kathleen

    Can someone tell me what the difference is between the two different sizes of capers that are offered in most stores? The smaller ones seem to cost twice as much. Thanks.

  • goodeatsbykmuir

    I’m always on board with taking traditional recipes and healthifying them as I like to call it. The use of fennel is a great way to add an extra punch of flavor since the chicken isn’t breaded. Yum!

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