It wasn’t pretty, but somebody had to do it – eat all the leftover Christmas cake and pud that is. Along with all the panettone and trifle. As I sluggishly emerge, Jabba the Hutt-like, from my self-induced Christmas carb coma, I’m counting the cost. I don’t need to get on a scale to know the damage is considerable. One of life’s greatest travesties is that it takes me two months to get rid of what I pack on in a mere two weeks. Note to everybody under 35: brace yourself dahling, this only gets worse with age.

While banting is not exactly my cup of tea, I’ve decided to shun the carbs for a while – like maybe for a day or two. Eating fresh and light(er) it is. With capers, lemon, parsley and garlic, this super quick and easy chicken recipe packs a walloping salty, zingy, tangy, herby flavour punch. The inspiration for it is Italian pollo al limone which mostly also includes some flour and white wine. But I want dinner on the table in under 15 minutes, so this is my shortcut cheat’s recipe. Naturally it goes brilliantly with home-made pappardelle pasta or cheesy parmesan mash. It’s just as good piled high onto crunchy baby butter or baby cos lettuce heads. And if I repeat that often enough, I may just believe it.

Happy New Year everyone! May your resolutions last longer than mine.

All you need is…

3 large chicken breasts
2 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs salted butter (leave out if you absolutely have to!)
salt and black pepper
juice of one lemon
large handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 heaped tbs small non pareilles capers (I found some at Woolies)
baby cos or baby butter lettuce heads, quartered or cut in half

Slice the chicken breasts in two lengthways so you have two thinner pieces from each breast. Heat a thick-bottomed saucepan until very hot and then add the olive oil. Whack the garlic cloves once with the side of a knife to flatten and open the cloves slightly. (Do not peel them, the skin provides protection so the garlic does not burn.) Generously salt the chicken on both sides and add it to the hot pan with the garlic. Fry on high heat until the chicken is golden brown. Chicken breast is naturally the driest part of a chicken. While a dry sense of humour may be desirable in sophisticated circles, dry poultry is not, so take care – it’s done as soon as it’s no longer pink inside.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, capers and parsley straight away. The pan will be very hot, so the residual heat will melt the butter instantly. As soon as it’s melted, deglaze the pan by adding the lemon juice. Grind over some black pepper and pile the chicken on the lettuce. Pour the pan juices over the chicken. You don’t need dressing, the rich, salty lemony sauce makes the perfect dressing and I just love the contrast of hot chicken, warm dressing and cold, crisp lettuce. Enjoy!

serves

2

prep

5 min

cook

10 min

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tips, tricks and trivia

More ideas for this recipe

You can leave out the butter and go all heart-healthy Mediterranean with this recipe by melting a few anchovy fillets into the olive oil and adding some pitted calamata olives.

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enjoy with

A crisp Sauvignon Blanc is my perfect partner for this light, easy summer chicken dish. Merwida has long been one of my favourite Bredekloof estates and I’m happy to say that the world is starting to take notice. Their 2015 Sauvignon Blanc was selected as one of the FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blancs and also gets the nod from Platter with four stars.

This 100% Sauvignon from 8-year-old vines had extended lees contact for three months. Multi-layered and satisfying with bursts of guava and asparagus, this is an ideal food wine. Top value at a top price, I picked up a bottle at my local for under R65.

Merwida

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Ook beskikbaar in: Afrikaans