Pounded pear piccata.

Photography by Matt Hocking

Photography by Matt Hocking

Fall is a bit late this year. The DC farm markets are still selling beautiful peaches and even a few nectarines. There’s nary a head of broccoli or Brussels sprout in sight. With the pressure of weekly recipe development, that calls for another Hail Mary pass. That, of course, is the origin of chicken pear piccata.

The immediate concern is whether sweet pears will pair well with a sauce of lemon, parsley and butter, all of which sound rather springy, like something you’d drizzle over young roasted chicken served with new potatoes and fresh asparagus. And what of the capers, whose combination of salt and bitterness seems distinctly un-pearlike?

The result? Either I have a really perverse sense of humor, or it was really good and the tart, sweet sauce was beautifully complex, richly textured, and even played well with capers. (Or I just have a really perverse sense of humor.) After all, I feel a little off with fall being so late.

Chicken Pear Piccata

Serves 4

This is the time to reach for those super-tender pears that have a couple of bruises on them. They’ll make the smoothest sauce.

Photography by Matt Hocking

Photography by Matt Hocking

For chicken:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbs olive oil

For sauce:

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 Bartlett pears, grated, about 1 cup pulp
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbs cold butter
  • Nutmeg
  • White pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1 tbs capers, minced


  • Place chicken breasts under plastic wrap and pound flat to 1/2” thick.
  • Season flour with salt and pepper and place in a large freezer bag. Add chicken breasts to bag, one at a time, and shake to coat.
  • Heat 1 tbs oil in a 12” skillet over medium high heat. Add two breasts and brown on both sides, cooking through. Reserve, add remaining oil and cook remaining breasts. Reserve, tented with foil.
  • Return pan to med-high heat and add wine. Reduce by half, scraping brown bits from pan. Add stock, grated pear and lemon juice. Reduce heat to med and simmer for 10 min.
  • Work sauce through a fine mesh strainer, leaving any solids behind. Return pan with any juices from the chicken. Cook 2 min longer over medium heat. Remove from heat, whisk in cold butter and season to taste with nutmeg, white pepper and a pinch of salt.
  • Serve chicken with sauce, parsley and capers.

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