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The Whole Dish blog: Gotta lotta lemons? Make piccata

It’s something of a joke, given my surname.

But yes, I love lemons, particularly to counter the sweetness of desserts, featured in my latest column. The flavor also is essential in the gamut of savory dishes I cook. I even save spent lemon halves to shine my kitchen sink and sanitize wooden cutting boards.

Meyer lemons were the specific fruit I touted, the grand finale, so to speak on a week flush with organic lemons, purchased as 2-pound bags for $2.50 apiece at my locally owner grocer. Life handed me a whole lotta lemons, I observed. My latest column delivers the punchline.

This is indeed the season when grocers are unloading some of the year’s freshest lemons at some of the best prices. So brighten your mealtime routine with lemon’s inimitable flavor. This classic of Italian cuisine is a great place to start, fast and easy enough for a weeknight but distinctive enough for dinner parties.

If the Lenten season sees your family passing on poultry and meat, substitute any white-fleshed fish for an equally tangy, fresh-tasting dish.

Tribune News Service photo

Chicken Piccata

2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Salt, as needed

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 garlic cloves, smashed

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon drained capers

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Chopped parsley and lemon wedges (for serving)

Slice the chicken breasts in half crosswise into 4 cutlets and lightly pound each piece between sheets of plastic wrap until an even thickness (about 1/2 inch thick or less). Season lightly with salt. Place the flour in a medium shallow bowl. Working one at a time, place cutlets in bowl and toss to coat in flour. Knock off excess flour and transfer to a plate.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Working in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding the pan, cook cutlets, without moving them, until deeply browned underneath, for about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side just until chicken is nearly cooked through, for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a clean plate.

Add the garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and cook, stirring often and reducing heat if needed to keep garlic from scorching, until golden brown, for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and capers and cook, swirling pan and scraping up any browned bits stuck to bottom of skillet, until liquid is almost completely evaporated, for about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, followed by the butter. Swirl pan vigorously while butter melts to help it form an emulsion with water, for about 1 minute.

Return chicken to skillet and simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir the lemon juice into sauce; season with salt. Transfer chicken and sauce to a platter and top with the parsley; serve with the lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Bon Appétit.