Chicken Breasts Sautéed in Butter

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Here the chicken breasts are lightly dusted with flour and are sautéed in clarified butter. (Ordinary butter will burn and form black specks on the suprêmes. Clarified butter may be heated to a higher temperature before burning.) A good accompaniment for this dish would be grilled or stuffed tomatoes, buttered green peas or beans, and potato balls sautéed in butter. Serve with it a red Bordeaux-Médoc.

Serves4 people

Cooking MethodPan-frying, Sauteeing



Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationPeanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free


MoodStressed, Tired

Taste and TextureButtery, Crisp, Meaty, Savory


  • 4 suprêmes (boned chicken breasts from 2 fryers; see Notes)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Big pinch of pepper
  • 1 cup flour spread on an 8-inch plate
  • 6 to 8 Tb clarified butter (note that you will need ¼ cup more for your sauce)
  • 4 Tb clarified butter
  • 3 Tb minced parsley
  • 1 Tb lemon juice
  • An 8- to 9-inch skillet and a hot platter


  1. Just before sautéing, sprinkle the suprêmes with salt and pepper, roll them in the flour, and shake off excess flour.

  2. Pour clarified butter into skillet to a depth of about 1/16 inch. Set over moderately high heat. When the butter begins to, deepen in color very slightly, put in the suprêmes. Regulate heat so butter is always hot but does not turn more than a deep yellow. After 3 minutes, turn the sapremes and sauté on the other side. In two minutes, press tops of suprêmes with your finger. As soon as they are springy to the touch, they are done. Remove to a hot platter, leaving the butter in the skillet.

  3. Add additional clarified butter to skillet and set over moderately high heat until the butter has turned a very light golden brown (a minute or two). Immediately remove from heat, sir in parsley and lemon juice, and taste for seasoning. Pour over the suprêmes and serve.


    Brown Deglazing Sauce with Wine

    1 Tb minced shallot or green onion

    ¼ cup port or Madeira

    2/3 cup brown stock or canned beef bouillon

    2 Tb minced parsley

  5. After removing the sautéed suprêmes, stir minced shallot or onion into skillet and sauté a moment. Then pour in the wine and stock or bouillon and boil down rapidly over high heat until liquid is lightly syrupy. Pour over the suprêmes, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

    Deglazing Sauce with Truffles

    1 minced canned truffle and the juice from its can Ingredients for the preceding brown deglazing sauce minus the parsley

  6. After sautéing the shallots or onions, as in the preceding master recipe, add the wine, stock or bouillon, and the truffle and its juice. Boil down liquid until syrupy, and pour over the suprêmes.

    Suprêmes de Volaille a la Milanaise (Chicken Breasts Rolled in Parmesean and Fresh Bread Crumbs)

    4 suprêmes (boned breasts from two fryers; see Notes)

    ¼ tsp salt

    Big pinch of pepper

    1 cup flour spread on an 8-inch plate

    1 egg, 1/8 tsp salt, and ½ tsp olive oil beaten together in an 8-inch soup plate

    ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and ½ cup fine, white, fresh bread crumbs mixed together in an 8-inch dish Ingredients for brown butter sauce, master recipe

  7. Season the suprêmes with salt and pepper. One at a time, roll them in the flour and shake off excess. Dip in beaten egg. Then roll in the cheese and bread crumbs, patting them in place with the flat of a knife. Lay the suprêmos on waxed paper and allow cheese and bread crumbs to set for 10 to 15 minutes or several hours. Sauté on both sides in clarified butter until resilient to the pressure of your finger. Serve with brown butter sauce as described in the master recipe.


Information & Preparation of Supremes (Chicken Breasts) Breast of chicken when it is removed raw from one side of the bird in a skinless, boneless piece is called a suprême. Each chicken possesses two of them. If the upper part of the wing is left on, the suprême becomes a côtelett. The breast of a cooked chicken is not a suprême, but a blanc de poulet, or white meat of chicken. A suprême may be poached in butter in a covered casserole a blanc, or sautéed or broiled with butter a bruno It is never, in good French cooking, simmered in a liquid. The suprême is an easy morsel to cook, but attention must be exercised to be sure it is not overdone, as even a minute too much can toughen the meat and make it dry. The flesh of a perfectly cooked suprême is white with the faintest pinky blush, its juices run clear yellow, and it is definitely juicy. Its point of doneness is easily determined as it cooks. Press the top of it with your finger; if it is still soft and yields slightly to the touch, it is not yet done. As Sognas the flesh springs back with gentle resilience, it is ready. If there is no springiness, it is overcooked. As a suprême cooks in only 6 to 8 minutes and may be served very simply, it can make an exquisite quick meal. 

PREPARING THE SUPRÊMES FOR COOKING Choose whole or half breasts from a 2½- to 3-lb. fryer. Slip your fingers between skin and flesh, and pull off the skin. Then cut against the ridge of the breastbone to loosen the flesh from the bone. Disjoint the wing where it joins the carcass and continue down along the rib cage, pulling flesh from bone as you cut until the meat from one side of the breast separates from the bone in one piece. Remove the wing. Cut and pull out the white tendon that runs about two thirds of the way down the under side of the meat. Trim off any jagged edges and flatten the suprêmes lightly with the side of a heavy knife. They are now ready for cooking. If they are not to be used immediately, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate.


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I have never used clarified butter. Where can you get it? I love chicken breast recipes, and this one sounds easy and delicious. Could you use olive oil instead of the butter? I try to keep dishes as low calorie and low fat as I possibly can to minimize cholesterol intake.


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