Dinner Tonight: Fennel-Dusted Chicken with Brown Butter and Capers Recipe

Dinner Tonight

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Dinner Tonight: Fennel-Dusted Chicken with Brown Butter and Capers Recipe

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

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.

  • Yield:2


  • 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


  1. 1.

    Mix together the ground fennel and salt. Dry the chicken breasts, and then sprinkle the fennel salt all over the chicken breasts.

  2. 2.

    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.

  3. 3.

    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.

  4. 4.

    Plate the chicken and pour the sauce over the chicken.