Succulent Chicken Francese: A Tale of Two Cultures

August 3, 2023

Venturing into the realm of chicken francese, this dish introduces us to both a tantalizing flavor and a captivating story of intertwining cultures. It strikes a balance, being simple enough for a weekday dinner, yet exuding an elegance befitting more upscale dining moments.

A Flavorful Connection Across Continents

When my mother first touched American soil in the 1980s, the vast landscape of Western cuisine felt like an uncharted territory. Nurtured in Shanghai on traditional meals prepared by her lineage, her palate had not ventured beyond regional Chinese flavors, much less tasted the exotic nuances of the West.

Her initial encounters in upstate New York, particularly with a cheesy pizza, were quite amusingly challenging. However, amidst these culinary adventures, Chicken Francese emerged as a comforting connection to her roots. The harmonious blend of egg batter and a gentle sauce resonated with her, making it her go-to dish during her American sojourns.

The Essence of Chicken Francese

While my mother’s love for this dish remains steadfast, it’s essential to understand its roots. A culinary gift from Italian immigrants, Chicken Francese boasts of tender chicken breast, subtly enhanced with a dance of flavors from lemon, white wine, and garlic.

Recreating this delicacy, while occasionally substituting pasta for rice, feels like a heartfelt nod to my mother’s early days in America and, in many ways, reconnects me with her journey.

Let’s Dive into Crafting this Delight:


  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (sliced in half)
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup premium olive oil
  • 1/2 a lemon (sliced thinly)
  • 5 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons creamy butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)


  1. Begin by prepping the chicken breasts and place them aside. In a dish, blend the flour, seasoning it generously with salt and pepper. In another dish, whisk the eggs with water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over a medium flame. Season the chicken slices, coat them in the flour mixture, and then dip into the egg mixture. Fry these in the sizzling oil for about 4 minutes on each side till they achieve a golden hue. Set them aside.
  3. Introduce the lemon slices to the pan for a minute or two. Follow this with garlic, wine, broth, and lemon juice, letting it simmer for about 5 minutes. Introduce the butter as the sauce slightly thickens.
  4. The final step involves bringing back the chicken slices to the pan, topped with lemon slices, and allowing them to absorb the flavors for a couple of minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and parsley, and it’s ready to be relished with pasta or rice.

The Charm of Chicken Francese

Beyond the mouthwatering flavors, Chicken Francese offers an enriching tale of bridging cultures. It’s a testament to how food can transcend borders and become a source of comfort in unfamiliar terrains. Whether you’re seeking to relive fond memories or explore new culinary horizons, this dish is sure to captivate your heart and palate. Remember, food is not just about taste; it’s about the stories, emotions, and connections it fosters.

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