Monday, April 8

Weekday recipe: Tamara's lemon caper chicken with roasted vegetable and fresh herbs

Weekday Supper, 
and a look at cooking in Spring!

during spring I like to bring lots of potted and fresh flowers into my NYC apartment
and on my table 
to remind of my summer garden.  
Daffodils in iron urns I painted shiny black
and hydrangeas in my ceramic pot McCoy pottery
Spring is a good time to start preparing lighter meals.
It certainly can be helpful to spend less time in the kitchen now.
To me, this season is optimistic,
and not
lazy like summer
or bustling like Fall
or even introspective like Winter.
Spring is about the beauty of nature bursting upon us.

I just returned from a visit to Sunny California and picked fresh lemons off of my brother's tree (just out his back door).  I happily carried these California lemons on the airplane home to make my favorite dish, a spring-like version of an Italian Chicken Picatta infused with lemons and fresh herbs.
I pound the chicken breasts flat (well, actually, I had the butcher do that for me to save time).  Because I had guests I wanted to prepare most of the food beforehand.  I was able to saute the chicken an hour earlier, put it aside in a covered dish.  Then in the same pan I cooked the chicken, I made the sauce and left the sauce sitting room temperature on the stove turned off.  Just before we ate I combined the two, put the lemons in the pan 
(because when lemons are cooked too long they take on a bitter flavor).  Cooked it all together for less than five minutes.
Additionally, I made three separate roasted vegetables earlier that day, and merely heated them up for dinner.  I roasted sliced potatoes and garlic, carrots, parsley and Grand Marnier, and asparagus and lemon.   
Take a look:

Tamara's lemon, caper chicken
6 pounded thin chicken breasts
4 cloves sliced thin garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 chicken broth
1/4 stick of butter
olive oil
handful of capers
*note:  if I am out of capers I substitute black olives for capers and
it gives a little salty flavor as well
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil (to cut basil I roll the leaves then slice them with a sharp knife so not to bruise)
coarse pepper to taste
kosher salt to taste 
lightly flour the chicken and cook in olive oil browning both sides (I use semolina flour because it is light, but any flour will do)
Set aside in a covered dish.
In the same deep pan I saute the garlic on medium until lightly brown but not dark because it will get bitter.
then add all the ingredients except for the fresh herbs and lemon. Cook the sauce together for five minutes on medium heat, then add the wine at the end, turning up the heat slightly.  Let the wine cook off a little and thicken a bit, then turn off the sauce
covering in a pan on the stove.
Five minutes before serving I heat up the sauce, add the lemon slices, add the fresh parsley, add the chicken and simmer stirring often.  That last minute before plating I add the basil (to retain it's green color and fresh flavor).  Stir a couple of times before plating.

Roasted Vegetable medley 
Although I serve them together I do roast these vegetables in different pans (mostly because they have different cooking time - the potatoes and carrots take about 40 minutes, while the asparagus takes only 15 minutes). I also like the potatoes to be very dry so they crisp up, while the carrots need a little bit of juice so they stay moist.

crisply sliced potatoes
7 small fingerling potatoes sliced thin
olive oil
2 sliced garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
cook the potatoes in a flat large pan (I used Pyrex)
cook in the oven on 400 degrees
and cook about 40 minutes or until crisp and cooked through
(do not turn very often giving the potatoes a chance to brown)
note:  don't add salt until the end of the cooking process as it brings out the water in the potatoes and preventing it from becoming crispy
roasted carrots with fresh parsley
1/2 bag baby carrots
1 tsp Grand Marnier
1 tsp chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt & pepper
cook in the oven on 400degrees

cook about 40 minutes or until cooked through and brown

roasted asparagus with lemon slices
1 bunch asparagus
3 lemon slices
olive oil
cook in the oven on 400 degrees
cook about 15-20 minutes
I like my asparagus a little firm so opt for 15 minutes
after I cook all of them separately earlier that day, then I add them to one large cookie sheet and cover with foil to let them rest.  Be careful to not overcook the asparagus and they should be firm and not limp.   
While I serve the salad or appetizers to my guests I pop the roasted vegetable tray in the oven to warm up (300),
heat up the chicken as described above
and plate it altogether!
Happy Nesting XO

shopping for my ingredients on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

1 comment:

Harry Chittenden said...

This looks killer good! Hope to try it maybe Thursday.