These last few weeks have given me a new appreciation for fast recipes. To say that I’ve been busy would be the understatement of the year, and we’re only 4 months in.
I’ve always been slightly disappointed with so called “quick and easy” recipes, as so often they seem to sacrifice quality for quick cooking time. Yes you’ll have a warm meal on the table in under half an hour, but will it be good?
Dinner has always been one of my favourite meals. Breakfast prepares you for the day, lunch revives you, but dinner helps you wind down. It allows you to relax after a long day, comforting you and helping to do it all over again the next day. That being said, spending hours making something that will be consumed in minutes is usually the last thing I want to do after a full day. So what do you do?
Surprisingly (to some, others will nod their head knowingly) it was dear old Gwyneth who provided the answer to my weeknight dinner problem. As in, Gwyneth Paltrow, of “conscious uncoupling” fame. While some people scoffed at her cookbooks when they came out, I happen to love them. Her latest, “It’s All Easy” is by far my favourite, as it combines the comfort food quality of her first book with the health consciousness of her second. Every recipe I’ve tried has been a complete winner and this is one of them. Chicken Piccata takes me from beginning to end, no joke, 20 minutes to make. AND IT HAS A SAUCE. I don’t know about you, but I have no time for sauces during the week, unless they come out of a jar for pasta (I know, what kind of home cook am I, stop judging me). In my mind, if you can manage to put a dinner on the table in the middle of the week that has an accompanying sauce, you’re doing something right with your life.
I will warn you, the recipe I will post will be much less exact than GP’s original. I tend to use hers as a starting point, and then kind of do my own thing with it, adding a little more of this, a little less of that depending on my mood that night (or what I have in the fridge). If you would like to know exact amounts, I highly recommend her book, as well as her first two. They are much more home cook friendly than you would expect, and I have yet to try a recipe that I have been disappointed by.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 lemons, one sliced, one juiced
- 2 tbsp butter (or so…you might need more)
- 2 tbsp capers (I have no idea if this amount is right, but it sounds good. I also love capers, so you might want to adjust to your taste)
- all purpose flour (for coating the chicken…so about 1/4 cup’s worth)
- 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
- black pepper
- Parsley, chopped fine, to serve
- Between layers of plastic wrap, pound out the chicken breast one at a time to about 1/2 inch thickness or so.
- Coat the chicken in flour. Season with black pepper.
- Heat the oil in a pan until it shimmers. Add the chicken (it should sizzle). Cook until golden brown and delicious looking on each side. Remove and set aside.
- Add the sliced lemon to the pan, until golden brown on each side. At some point add in the butter, lemon juice and capers, reducing until the sauce looks like what you want it to (trust me, this is really hard to mess up). If you find you want more sauce, just add more butter and lemon juice. Easy peasy.
- Plate the chicken and pour the sauce over, topping with slices of lemon and capers.
- Top with parsley, or plate alongside if you’re feeling artsy.