Did you know that if you drink hot water with lemon first thing in the morning, your immune system will be stronger, your digestive system will work better and you’ll most likely lose some weight?
Yup, that’s what everyone has told me for, like, 20 years.
But that’s still not enough to make me have hot lemon water before my beloved cup of coffee.
For me coffee is kinda like medicine.
But, I really DO love lemon (only after my coffee though). When I was a kid, I used to peel and eat lemons like oranges. True story.
Once I got older, I realized straight lemon isn’t that good for your tooth enamel OR your stomach lining. But, just like knowing too much sugar is bad for you and you still eat ALL the cookies, the same goes for lemons.
Last month, Massimo Bruno and I hosted dinner of a group of amazing new Canadians (you can read all about that post here!). We cooked up a bunch of different dishes for our guests and one of the courses we served up was Massimo’s lemon chicken. As we prepared the chicken, I realized how long it had been since I made mine (a bit different than Massimo’s, but I’m so glad we cooked together because we exchanged some cool cooking tricks which is always awesome!).
My lemon chicken sometimes changes depending on the season (in the summer, I use chicken thighs, and I don’t dredge it in flour but add a ton of oregano!) but this piccata version is a good staple. The flour keeps the chicken moist and also adds a thickening element to the sauce.
Once it’s seasoned, coated and fried in olive oil AND butter (’cause yolo), you throw the rest of the ingredients in the pan, scrape up all the golden bits at the bottom and that’s where the magic begins. The real secret here it to NOT use a non-stick pan (I love my cast iron here but a stainless steel pan is great too!). You want all the teeny bits to stick to the bottom of the pan….those are all the flavour bombs that will make your sauce extra special (and if you want to know the trick to turning your chicken without it completely sticking/tearing, you must let it cook until it becomes brown on the bottom – then it magically releases on it’s own).
I served my lemony chicken piccata with some zucchini noodles, but it would also be fabulous with some simple linguine (like this simple aglio e olio), some mashed potatoes or even a plate of polenta! But, in true spring fashion, I thought I’d pair it with something lighter.
Try this easy dish this weekend. It’s actually a perfect make-ahead dish for Mother’s Day because it will stay oh-so-moist in a warm oven while you pamper your mom on her special day!
Lemony Chicken Picatta
- 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 lemons, zested and juiced (will yield about 2/3 cups juice)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup capers
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
Place each chicken breast on a cutting board and slice horizontally into two or three filet (if you cut it into two filet, use a mallet to pound it a bit thinner); continue with each breast. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge chicken in flour; shake off the excess.
In a large skillet (I like to use a cast iron pan) over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 3-4 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Continue with the rest of the chicken (adding equal parts butter and oil as needed) and, when all of the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken to a platter but keep the skillet over medium heat.
Add minced garlic to the pan and stir; then add the lemon juice, stock, wine and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.
Serve warm with juices and accompany with your choice of sides (veggies like green beans, zucchini, broccoli or cauliflower and a starch like mashed potatoes or a simple, light pasta).