Chicken Francese

Photo by Carrie Minns at La Pomme de Portland, who featured my recipe on her lovely blog.

Francese is the Italian word for French, and I love the Italians for giving the French credit for this bright and intense, lemony-garlicky dish. However, the tip of the chapeau should probably go to Italian-Americans. I’ve never seen the dish in either Italy nor France, and, in fact, I first fell in love with it at a little Italian spot on Court Street in Brooklyn Heights. French, Italian, or Franco-Italian-American, I couldn’t resist including it here, since it serves the saute-deglaze-serve mode of Bonne Femme cooking.

Chicken Francese
Makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 to 5 ounces each)
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, chervil, chives, and/or tarragon
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice

1. Place chicken breast halves, one at a time, between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound until 1/4 inch thick. (Or butterfly. Or, you can slice in half horizontally to form two cutlets from each breast half). Season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in flour.

2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until no longer pink inside, turning once. Transfer chicken to a platter and sprinkle with fresh herb(s); cover with foil and keep warm.

3. Drain fat from skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the skillet; when melted, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the wine and lemon juice; cook until reduced by half. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Serve sauce with chicken breasts.

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12 comments to Chicken Francese

  • I made this for dinner tonight with a side of rice and some roasted asparagus. It was quick, easy and delicious but the best part was the garlicky lemon-butter pan sauce. It was wonderful spooned over the entire plate. Yum!

  • Charles

    I make this dish a little differently, based on a fabulous meal at an Italian restaurant in Albany, NY. The chicken is dipped in a mixture of beaten eggs and
    Reggiano-Parmigiano grated cheese, then sauteed, then kept warm in the oven. The sauce is similar, but includes capers.

    • Wini

      Yes! I know the egg-dipped version. It makes for a much richer/thicker crust. And the cheese….YES! If you’re going to put capers with it, it’s almost a Chicken Piccata, but whatever you call it, it sounds really good. Thanks for sharing.

  • Marc

    Since I live in NYC I’m curious. Which restaurant on Court St. was it?

    • Wini

      Ristorante Queen! It’s still there, though the restaurant has moved up the street. I lived on Schermerhorn.

      I revisited Queen in 2009, but they didn’t serve the Chicken Francese any more. It’s still a good joint, though–I liked it.

      Do you know of it?

  • Jackie

    Does this dish freeze well? I’d like to serve it at a large party.

  • Wini

    Hi Jackie! I wouldn’t freeze this. I don’t think anything coated in flour freezes particularly well. How many are you cooking for? You could make it, keep the sauce and chicken separate. Place the chicken on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate. Then, rewarm the sauce (in a skillet or saucepan) and rewarm the chicken (in the oven) and assemble at the last minute.

    Hope this helps!

  • Nerice

    Made this tonight and served with your Any-Night Baked Rice and Grated Carrot Salad. My family and I absolutely loved this meal! Thank you so much for sharing your love of French cooking with all of us. Wishing you a Happy New Year!

  • Candy

    This is a terrific little dish to have in one’s repertoire. 🙂 It comes together quickly and goes with a lot of things. I have chives and parsley in the garden and did your trick of blending them with dried tarragon. Tasty! Im back to thinking boneless chicken breasts are a good thing.


  • Candy

    A year later and I am now growing tarragon in the garden and believe it is key to this recipe. Merci beaucoup !

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