Today is a day for swimming in pools with friends, lazing in the sun and sipping iced tea jazzed up with mint. But at 80 degrees – and we’re talking indoors, here – it’s definitely not a day for cooking.
But a girl and her family have to eat, right? Which is why I made the ultimate sacrifice for my family and did the unthinkable: cooked in the mid-day heat.
Let’s back up a bit and hear a confession … are you ready? I really, really didn’t want to cook today. After I dropped off little GG at camp and ran the requisite errands, all sorts of thoughts floated through my head, a great many of which involved rotisserie chicken, store-bought potato salad and gluten-free beer. But after spending a ton of Euros on vacation, I came to the conclusion that I should be a good girl and cook at home, using stuff I already have in my pantry and freezer. Stuff like sliced fennel, chicken breasts and a big can of tomaotes. I grabbed a lemon off the tree, some basil from its patio container, and decided, no more excuses! I must cook!
So this is what I came up with. It’s easy, it’s fast, it’s delicious, and right now it’s hanging out with the gluten-free flours and beer in my garage mini-fridge. Which completely opens up my afternoon for the important things in life: swimming in pools with my kiddo and a few good friends.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons capers
- ¼ cup fresh basil, julienned
- Heat olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Meanwhile, use paper towels to dry each chicken breast, then season with the salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot, arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer and brown for four minutes per side. Remove the chicken breasts to a plate and cover with foil.
- Turning the heat to medium, sauté the fennel and shallots until soft, about five minutes. Add the wine, and scrape the bottom of the skillet to stir in the browned bits of chicken and vegetables. Place the chicken breasts back into the skillet and pour the diced tomatoes, juice and all, over the chicken. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Add the lemon zest and capers; stir to combine. Pour the chicken and sauce into a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with the fresh basil. Serve immediately.