Spring is here. Can’t you just feel it? I certainly can hear it, with birds now chirping outside my window even before there’s a hint of sunshine. My hosta, too, is growing like proverbial weeds all across my yard.


The promise of better weather and a chance to wave at neighbors who have taken to stretching their legs after a day at the (home) office while taking a stroll down my street also are helping me get out of a coronavirus funk. That, and the abundance of citrus in my local grocery store.


One of my favorites is lemon. Known for brightening everything from sauces to dressings to coleslaw, it’s a cook’s secret weapon. It also happens to be a star ingredient in one of my family’s most-requested dishes: lemon chicken.


I like the dish because it’s incredibly flavorful, to be sure. It also is incredibly easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.


Given how big the packaged supermarket chicken breasts are today, you might have to pound the meat pretty hard to get it thin enough to cook quickly. A few minutes of clobbering should help release some of the coronavirus stress we’re all feeling.


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EASY LEMON CHICKEN


PG tested


2 whole chicken breasts, boned, skinned and halved


4 tablespoons butter, divided


2 tablespoons olive oil


1 1/2 cups unbleached flour


Salt and pepper


Juice of 1 lemon


1/2 lemon, sliced


Chopped fresh parsley


Wash and dry chicken breasts. Pound them flat between two pieces of waxed paper or inside a resealable plastic bag with a mallet or rolling pin.


Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour the flour in a plastic bag, season with salt and pepper, and drop the breasts in to coat. Shake off excess flour.


Turn heat up to moderately high, and put chicken breasts in the skillet. Depending on how thin you’ve pounded the breast, cook approximately three minutes on each side, or until cooked through and still tender. When they are done, season with salt and pepper, remove to a plate and set aside while you make the sauce.


Add 2 remaining tablespoons of butter to the chicken skillet and melt, scraping up brown bits in pan. Add lemon juice and lemon slices and cook until bubbly, then return chicken to the pan, spooning sauce over. Garnish with fresh parsley.


Serve with rice, couscous or cooked noodles.


Serves 4.


— Gretchen McKay