America’s love affair with chicken is understandable. But with chicken breasts…less so. We all have a favorite preparation method and preferred part of the bird. I’m unquestionably a thigh lover and a fan of wings too. I’m OK with the legs, or “drumsticks”, because dark meat chicken has more flavor than the white. The breast is simply the least flavorful portion. Period. Yet grilled breast of chicken is one of the most common menu items in the world. And although the grill adds some flavor, it’s still not enough to make it interesting.
If there is any advantage to the white meat breast, it’s that it is both lean and quick to cook. So, feeling the need to eat “clean”, I picked up a package of thinly sliced breasts for dinner with the objective to max out the flavor with a minimum of added calories. What has become super convenient is that so many markets now have those self-serve “olive bars.” You know the ones I mean…stocked with not only assorted olives, but marinated artichokes, peppers and the like, all of which pair perfectly with a plain old chicken breast.
Baked Lemon Chicken Breasts with Artichokes, Peppers and Jalapeno can be thrown together in five minutes and cooked on a single baking sheet in another 15. Just brush a baking sheet with a little oil for lubrication, season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides, and feel free to sprinkle any other favorite dry spice if you like; I added a touch of ancho chile powder. I topped the chicken with grilled artichoke hearts and lively peppadew peppers from the olive bar as well as my own lemon slices, some whole garlic cloves and a sliced jalapeno pepper. Be creative: you could easily use olives and capers from the olive bar too, an onion or scallion wouldn’t be bad, an even a sprinkle of vinegar will perk up the profile even further.
Pop into a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes and finish cooking under the broiler until lightly browned. Quick. Easy. One pan. And you end up with a nutritionally sound and low-fat dish loaded with flavor. Which was the goal.
UPDATE: Here is another really good looking option to spice up chicken breasts with some serious seasoning, but still super clean eating…from one of the foremost fitness, health and wellness experts, David Kirsch.