And a tasty Fourth it was!

I hope everyone’s had a happy and healthy July 4 holiday. I myself skipped out on a family camping trip to stay home and study organic chemistry. No, really, I’m not kidding.

So it’s been a weekend of long, brisk walks, pumping iron (have to balance out all those butt-in-chair study hours), a little laundry and some cooking. My weekend menu has been a bit of an international melting pot, which is appropriate given our country’s history.

Let’s see, I’ve had French toast (with strawberries and blueberries, which inspired the photo above), Lebanese rice-and-lentil pilaf with blackened onions, a riff on a Turkish ground lamb dish, scrambled eggs (which could be American, I suppose, but are more likely the result of a ruined French omelette) and a chicken recipe that is reminiscent of my fantastic chicken picatta (Italian) recipe.

I had intended to make a different recipe, but at the last minute realized that I did not have one of the key ingredients: canned artichokes. Or, rather, I had one can left, but it looked suspiciously bulgy. And a bout of botulism was not on my weekend agenda! (I know, I know, I’m sure some people would rather have botulism than do organic chemistry homework, but fortunately I am not one of those people).

So I made do, and came up with a dish that was full of lemony, oniony, capery goodness, and the leftovers heated up very nicely for tonight’s dinner.

Carrie’s Lemon-Caper Chicken

Ingredients
Butter
Olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 medium onion (red or yellow),peeled, halved and sliced thinly
1 lemon, ends removed and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Get out a skillet or shallow saucepan with lid that is large enough to hold the chicken breasts without crowding.
  2. Put about a tablespoon each butter and olive oil* in the pan. Over medium-high heat, brown the chicken breasts on one side, then turn and brown on the other side. Remove breasts from pan to a plate; cover with foil to keep warm.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add sliced onion to pan. Cook until onion has softened and is beginning to turn golden.
  4. Add chicken broth to pan and bring to a simmer. Scatter the lemon slices in the pan and place the chicken breasts on top. Scatter the capers over the chicken.
  5. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken breasts are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
* Why do I specify butter AND olive oil? Because you should never cook with just olive oil at anything above medium-low heat. Olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, is a healthy fat, but a certain level of heat decomposes it, and a decomposed oil is an unhealthy oil. Decomposition not only harms the flavor and the nutritional content, but it also creates cancer-promoting free radicals. Butter, on the other hand, is a saturated fat and so can take a higher heat. When you cook with both butter and olive oil, the butter sort of lends its heat capacity to the olive oil. And I would also call butter a healthy fat, which may make some of you scratch your heads, and this is a topic I do plan to address in the future (so many article ideas, so little time…).