Recipe: Lemony Chicken Piccata

Recipe Lemony Chicken Piccata
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Recipe: Lemony Chicken Piccata

Sarah Johnson’s recipe for a vibrant summer supper

Words by Liz Skone James

In her new book, Sarah, a pastry chef for Skye Gyngell, shares sweet and savoury fruit recipes inspired by Britain’s farms, orchards and gardens

Through her work as head of pastry development at Spring in London and luxury hotel Heckfield Place in Hampshire, Sarah Johnson has become very close to the farmers and producers who supply the restaurants. These relationships have given her an unbeatable insight into the best fruits to buy and cook, plus a wealth of insider knowledge on how to get the most from the produce we buy. She shares this knowledge, alongside recipes that are modern, fresh and full of flavour, in her new book, Fruitful, which was published at the end of April (Kyle Books, (Kyle Books, £29.95).

From crisp apples to buttery pears, fragrant peaches to plump berries, and vibrant lemons to juicy cherries, the gorgeous book is a celebration of fruit, and all the glorious variety it can bring to our plates. And, perhaps surprisingly, the focus here is not simply on desserts and sweet treats – some of the most delicious-looking recipes are the savoury ones, like this colourful chicken dish, which promises a vibrant taste of summer. Sarah tells us: “Lemon, chicken and capers appear harmoniously together in a number of dishes, however my favourite version is in this Italian-American classic. Serve it with orzo, or buttermilk mashed potatoes and garlicky green beans.” Perfect for early summer supper parties.

 INGREDIENTS

SERVES 4
4 skinless chicken breasts | salt and pepper | 140g (5oz) butter, separated | 50ml (1. fl oz) oil  | 250g (8.oz) flour | 1 garlic clove, chopped | 100ml (3.fl oz) white wine | 100ml (3.fl oz) chicken stock | zest of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve | 1 tbsp lemon juice | 2 tbsp capers |  handful of parsley

METHOD

1. Begin by cutting each chicken breast in half, slicing through horizontally to create two thinner pieces. Place the slices between two pieces of baking parchment and gently pound until they’re about 1.5cm (.in) thick. Season the chicken with salt, cover lightly and set aside for 30 minutes–1 hour.
2. When you’re ready to cook, heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat then add 40g (1.oz) of the butter and the oil. Put the flour into a shallow bowl, then dredge each chicken cutlet in the flour, shaking off the excess. When the pan is hot and the butter begins to sizzle, place the cutlets into the hot pan, ensuring you don’t overcrowd the pan (you may need to do this in two batches.) Allow the cutlets to cook for 3-5 minutes, waiting patiently before flipping them. Once they are crisp and golden-brown, and release easily from the bottom of the pan, flip them and quickly sear the other side for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.
3. Add the chopped garlic to the pan and let it sizzle briefly, but before it browns, add the white wine. Bring the liquid to the boil and let it reduce until it is nearly evaporated. Add the chicken stock and using a spatula, scrape and lift any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the lemon zest, juice, capers and the remaining butter, swirling them around to form a glossy emulsion. Place the chicken cutlets back into the pan, spooning the sauce over each piece until they are warmed through. Take the pan off the heat and let everything rest for 5 minutes.
4. Just before serving, garnish the dish with freshly chopped parsley and wedges of lemon. hot pan, ensuring you don’t overcrowd the pan (you may need to do this in two batches.) Allow the cutlets to cook for 3-5 minutes, waiting patiently before flipping them. Once they are crisp and golden-brown, and release easily from the bottom of the pan, flip them and quickly sear the other side for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.