Fresh From Nancy's Garden

A Fun Place For Gardening Tips and Great Recipes

Mangi Con Amore: Chicken Piccata

In Italy “Mangi Con Amore” literally means “Eat With Love”, but in Laguna Beach it mean Stella’s booth at our Farmer’s Market where you can buy some of the best fresh pastas, sauces and olive oil.

I used her olive oil this week to make my chicken piccata and (after dealing with a pan problem–I’ll explain) it was the best ever. I’ve truly perfected it now, so try this recipe. Not only will you eat with love, but the person you make it for will fall in love…with you!  

Meet Stella, the owner of Mangi Con Amore. You can find her and all of her delicious Italian foods at the Laguna Beach Farmer’s Market every Saturday. Don’t live in Laguna? No problem, just check out her website–she can send them to you. 

She even shared one of her Italian beauty secrets with me, but you’ll have to read to the end to find out. After all, beauty secrets are hard to find.

Now back to the piccata. Start with great olive oil and good lemons and you’re on your way to a delicious dinner.

When Mark and Jeri Berland were planning a visit (yes, the Jeri of the Caesar salad blog I wanted to make a nice supper for them and what better than chicken piccata. But to be honest, my first attempt wasn’t my finest moment. 

Maybe it was because I was having too much fun talking to them while I was cooking, making notes, jotting ingredients for this blog, taking pictures and drinking wine. At least that’s my excuse. The chicken was cooked perfectly with a nice crust, but the sauce was…well…kind of bland–and definitely not “blog-worthy”.

So I made it again last night. This time I used a metal pan, not my cast iron skillet and it was DELICIOUS!  (This explains the different pans in the photos.)

Now that I’ve perfected it, I can share it with you. Just follow these simply steps and you can Mangi Con Amore!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS Mangi Con Amore olive oil
about 1/2 cup flour
salt, pepper and paprika to season flour
1 egg 
1/2 TBS water
2 TBS butter
1/2 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
2 large lemons, juiced
2 TBS capers
1 cup chicken broth
2 TBS Italian parsley, chopped fine, for serving
sliced lemon, for serving

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Cover breasts with a sheet of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet until they’re about 1/4 inch thick. Mary Shapero doesn’t have a mallet and told me she uses the back of a soup ladle, so feel free to improvise. But whatever you use, make sure all the pieces are about the same thickness.

Mix flour with a generous amount of salt, pepper and paprika. Beat egg and water in a bowl large enough to fit the chicken. Dip breasts in the egg wash then coat with the seasoned flour and set aside.

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat for about a minute, then add the olive oil. Wait about 20 seconds then add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to let it burn. Remove onion mixture from pan and set aside.

Add 1 TBS butter to pan and swirl until it melts. Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes per side. Don’t crowd the pan. You may have to do it in two batches. Place cooked chicken on plate, cover with foil and put in oven to keep warm while you make the sauce.

(This picture is from the first time when I used my cast iron skillet–BIG MISTAKE! Although the chicken browned beautifully, the sauce did not work well with the cast iron.)

Add wine to the pan and scrape up any browned bits (that’s where all the flavor is). Add the chicken broth, lemon juice, onion/garlic mixture, butter and capers. Stir until flavors blend. 

Return chicken breasts to pan and simmer for about 3-5 minutes until sauce has reduced.

Gently move chicken to a nice serving platter. Generously spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with the parsley and lemon slices.

I served it to Mark and Jeri with steamed broccoli and boiled red potatoes tossed in butter and parsley–it was delicious. 

Enjoy! Or as they say in Italy, Buon Appetito!

Here’s Stella’s beauty secret…Use a little olive oil on your face each night instead of store-bought creams and you’ll have beautiful skin. I know this is true because when I was in Italy I visited an olive oil “family business” and purchased face cream made with olive oil–it was the best! 

And now…a great big thank you to all of you who referred me to your friends in South Africa! And to my new readers in South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago–here’s a big Laguna Beach Welcome! I hope you enjoy this and share with your friends in other parts of the world. And to all of you who read my weekly blog, thank you so much for all your kind words and feedback. I really appreciate it.

Remember…read it first at

Categories: Chicken, Everything Italian, Main Dishes

Tags: ,

5 replies

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  3. Maybe I'm an overenthusiastic chicken pounder (I've been called worse) but it always seems to disintegrate as I pound, and I worry that bits of Saran are getting pounded into the chicken. Know what works better? Cereal bags! They are much more durable than plastic wrap, and give me a way to re-purpose the bags before recycling them. Try it, you too will have worry-free chicken-pounding. : )

  4. Great idea! I'll try that next time. I don't like wax paper because that seems to disintegrate.

  5. that looks scrumptious as usual! i love your new header photo. what a fun place to enjoy your morning coffee!

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