For one of the easiest dishes on this entire website, this one certainly has the longest name. It is simplicity itself and I go to this dish every time I’m really pressed for time. It’s amazingly flexible. If you’re not a fan of capers, use garlic. Or just make the lemon sauce all by itself. You can choose to embellish the Orzo with cheese, parsley, fresh oregano, peas–it’s amazingly adaptable. In this case, I had some spinach and hazlenuts which I threw in with the orzo and then brightened with some freshly-squeezed Lemon juice. The chicken is ‘marinated’ for all of 10-30 minutes in some garlic, lemon and oregano, then sautéed for all of about 4 minutes, then the capers, a little butter and some more lemon juice are added and the whole thing is on the plate in no time.
Recipe for Chicken Paillards with Lemon Caper Sauce:
4 Thin sliced Chicken Cutlets or two boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded with a mallet until they are 3/8 inch thick.
2 tbsp. fresh or 1 tbsp. dried oregano.
2 cloves of garlic, peeled, halved and crushed
1 fresh lemon, halved and quartered, reserving half for the sauce
2 tbsp. capers
Butter or Canola Oil for sautéing. (I opt for butter).
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1. Sprinkle chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Toss it in a bowl with the garlic and oregano, spritz with lemon and toss the lemon pieces in the bowl. Refrigerate about 10 mins. Or up to a half hour.
2. Heat a non-stick skillet, adding butter or canola oil until it sizzles. Add chicken and garlic, removing lemon pieces. Saute briefly, turning until browned on both sides about 2 minutes a side. Remove from heat and keep paillards warm.
3. Add a little more lemon juice and butter to the pan, stir in the capers and pour the sauce over the chicken. Tent to keep warm.
Recipe for Orzo with Spinach and Hazlenuts:
1 Cup Orzo
¼ cup of toasted hazlenuts*
1 cup of baby spinach leaves
The juice of ½ lemon
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Make the Orzo according the package instructions, making sure to add lots and lots of salt so that the spinach retains its green color.
2. Add the spinach to the Orzo about ½ way through the cooking process. Remove from heat and drain. Add the toasted hazlenuts, the lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper.
3. Serve at once with the Chicken Paillards.
*I used hazlenuts because I had them on hand. They could easily be substituted for toasted walnuts or pecans. If you’d like you can also grate some Parmiggiano cheese over the Orzo and toss.