5 Ingredients or Fewer

Chicken Francese

March  8, 2019
16 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

Lemony, buttery, and quick to come together, this Italian-American classic is easy enough for a weeknight, but special enough for company. Serve with buttered noodles or lots of bread for sopping up the sauce. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped into tablespoons, divided
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced into very thin wheels (use the other lemon half for juice)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (or another high-heat, neutral-flavor oil), divided
  • 2 tablespoons barely chopped parsley
  1. Stir together the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or rimmed plate.
  2. Toss 3 tablespoons of the butter in the flour; set aside on a plate. Now dredge the lemon slices in the flour and set aside on the same plate. Finally, dredge the chicken breasts in the flour and set aside on a separate plate.
  3. Combine the wine, water, and lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
  4. Now we’re ready to get cooking! Set a very large skillet (preferably *not* nonstick) over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or just enough to create a thin film on the bottom of the pan). When the oil is very hot and shimmery, add the floured lemon slices. (I like to add only one at first—if it doesn’t loudly sizzle, the oil isn’t hot enough.) Fry the lemon slices for 2 to 3 minutes, flipping halfway, until the lemons start to brown and get crispy. Turn off the heat and transfer the lemons to a plate.
  5. Discard any remaining oil in the pan and give it a quick wipe. Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining 2 non-floured tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has totally melted and the pan is very hot, add the dredged chicken breasts. (Like with the lemons, the first contact between chicken and pan should loudly sizzle.) Cook for about 3 minutes per side, until well browned. Turn off the heat and transfer the chicken breasts to a plate.
  6. Discard about 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan (no need to be super exact here), but take care to leave all those browned bits on the bottom right where they are. Return to the skillet to the stove over medium heat and add the wine, water, and lemon juice mixture. Bring to a simmer. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits stuck to the bottom and gently stir to incorporate. Simmer for about 4 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to 1 to 1 1/4 cups.
  7. Add the 3 tablespoons of floured butter to the pan. Swirl until completely melted. Return the browned chicken breasts to the pan (along with any juices they left behind) and bring back to a simmer. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway, until each piece is cooked through. If some pieces are significantly smaller or thinner than others, just remove those from the pan while the others finish up, then return to the pan before garnishing.
  8. When all the chicken is cooked and the sauce is as thick as you’d like, turn off the heat. Taste the pan sauce. It probably needs some salt, but you be the judge. Top the chicken with the fried lemons, parsley, and a generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Moire
  • Michelle Davis
    Michelle Davis
  • Mandy Sunde
    Mandy Sunde
  • Carissa Leong
    Carissa Leong
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

19 Reviews

Shortrib July 30, 2021
I like the simple, clear instructions here, and the result is very tasty! My advice is to mind the heat under the chicken so it doesn't over-brown. Six mins in a loudly sizzling pan is quite bit for a chicken medallion and it creates quite a bit of spatter. Either less time or lower temp for me next time. Love the crispy lemon and the sauce is great!
72Africa January 26, 2021
This sounds so good! How about served over orzo and a side of peas, seasoned with shallots! I love anything lemon❣️
Moire May 23, 2019
This was great. Sliced a whole lemon, otherwise followed the recipe. Yes, this IS full of flavor.
Emma L. May 24, 2019
Thanks, Moire!
Shortrib May 16, 2019
It would be helpful to update the ingredients here to specify boneless breasts. I began preparation before seeing the instruction to "halve horizontally"! Pressed on regardless and it was still delicious, just took a bit longer to cook through and was less elegant on the plate than a supreme would have been. Will make again!
Emma L. May 16, 2019
Hi, you're totally right! I just updated the ingredient list accordingly—thanks for that catch!
Claire April 2, 2019
Before I made this I was a bit hesitant, as I’ve made lemon-y dishes before and the citrus was overwhelming. But this recipe was perfect!! The lemon is perfectly balanced and adds a beautiful note to the chicken. I’ll be making this one again for sure!
Emma L. April 3, 2019
Thanks, Claire!
Jennifer O. March 23, 2019
Made this tonight and it was delish! As others have said, took a bit longer for the sauce to reduce but the extra time was worth it. I served it over roasted kale which sopped up the yummy sauce.
Emma L. March 24, 2019
Love the idea of serving it over roasted kale!
Votingwithmydollar March 23, 2019
Just fixed this tonight, turned out pretty good. I, too, used thighs and they were fine. I used butter, substituted dry vermouth for the wine because that’s what I had and it worked. It did take longer than the recipe indicated, but we always have to allow for differences in pans, heat levels, etc., so that won’t stop me from doing it again. All in all, it’s a keeper and we’ll enjoy it again,
Emma L. March 24, 2019
Ooh the dry vermouth substitute sounds delicious!
Michelle D. March 19, 2019
This tasted pretty good, but I thought it took a lot more time to make than the recipe estimated. There were a lot of steps. I cook a lot and try to make weeknight dinners pretty quick, however this one took more than the double the estimate. Had I known how long it took I would not have tried it on a weeknight. Plus it didn't blow me away.
Mandy S. March 18, 2019
Loved the sauce, just the right amount of creaminess and acidity. Will make again. Served with some mashed potatoes and peas.
Emma L. March 18, 2019
Thanks so much, Mandy!
SPark0101 March 17, 2019
I, too, was wary of the amount of butter, so I reduced and substituted where I could. I also made it with chicken thighs rather than breasts, and pounded them to get them to the right thickness. The dish came together really nicely and relatively quickly. Really tasty!
Emma L. March 18, 2019
Glad to hear it worked with chicken thighs! Can't wait to try that.
Carissa L. March 16, 2019
Super simple and incredibly tasty! Because there's so much butter, I'd probably only make this once in a while, but I love how easy it came together.
Emma L. March 18, 2019
Thanks, Carissa!