For years, my friend Susan (of the famed Chicken Salad Susan) has been making her Italian grandmother’s sautéed chicken breasts with breadcrumbs, parmesan and fennel. Not too long ago, she was also on a diet program that included an amazing recipe for pan fried lemon chicken. I decided to combine both her recipes, and now have a killer entree that I’ve made almost weekly since she first shared it with me.
LEMON FENNEL CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOMS & SCALLIONS
You can just make the chicken breasts, and you’ll have an amazing entree. Or just cut up the chicken breasts, skipping the breading, and have another amazing entree. But together? OMG.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup homemade breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 3 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 10 ounces mushrooms, quartered
- 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, white and green parts divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Whisk 3 tablespoons lemon juice with chicken broth and soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Place flour on a dinner plate. Lay a 12 inch long piece of wax paper down on the counter. Mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan and spread out onto the wax paper. Sprinkle some fennel seeds atop the crumb/cheese mixture in such a density that every bite of the breast you are about to coat will have a fennel seed on it. Lightly coat a breast by dipping in the flour and shaking off, then dip into the egg, then into with the breadcrumb, cheese and fennel mixture, coating the second side in a different spot on the wax paper so that it too gets the fennels seeds on it in the right distribution. Set aside on a plate. Scatter some more fennel seeds if you need to and continue dipping and coating and scattering more fennel seeds as needed to be sure that each breast has enough fennel seeds on each side. Toss any unused breadcrumbs and flour. (Of course, you could just mix the fennel seeds in with the breadcrumbs, but this is how Susan does it, and I assume how her grandmother did it, so that’s how I do it. There is power in tradition, and I respect it when I can.)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté 2-3 minutes each side, until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate with tongs and cover with tented foil.
Add mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes – enough to cook but not to dry them out. You want them plump and juicy. Add scallion whites, garlic and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth mixture to the pan; cook, stirring, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add scallion greens and the chicken and any accumulated juices; cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve.