I'm not sure what first caught my eye--the fennel or the fact that this recipe from the most recent issue of Gourmet could be whipped up in less than thirty minutes. But there I found myself in the middle of preparation, before ever wondering if it would taste good or not. I suppose I should just trust Gourmet, but I certainly didn't expect this to work so well.
The brown butter adds a surprising amount of complexity, especially considering the limited number of ingredients. The fennel does add a licorice note, but the real story here is actually the interplay between the slightly sweet orange juice and the briny, salty capers. It's a great pan sauce.
I had to change a few things, namely the chicken. Instead of chicken cutlets I used skin-on boneless chicken breasts with the tenderloin removed. It will take a touch longer to cook than cutlets, but the result is crispy skin with perfectly juicy meat. Plus you'll get a more concentrated sauce. I ate these with sautéed squash, but some potatoes would also work.
- 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds, finely ground
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts, tenderloins removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon Canola oil
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
Mix together the ground fennel and salt. Dry the chicken breasts, and then sprinkle the fennel salt all over the chicken breasts.
Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and all of the oil to a skillet set over medium heat. Place the chicken breasts skin-side down in the skillet. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes a side, until cooked all the way through. Set the chicken breasts aside.
Pour in the capers and orange juice, bring to a boil and scrap any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Cook for a minute or so, or until thick. Turn off the heat, and add the rest of the butter. Stir well.
Plate the chicken and pour the sauce over the chicken.