My Father’s Lemon Tarragon Chicken

This is the only dish my father ever made while I was growing up. He also made this with shrimp, which was equally scrumptious.

Serves 6 to 8.

6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 3 pounds), trimmed of fat and membrane, pounded to an even thickness
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup toasted bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 to 2 lemons, quartered

1. Place the chicken and lemon juice in a large ceramic or glass mixing bowl or in a resealable plastic bag. Cover or seal, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes but no more than 1 hour. Drain the chicken breasts, discarding the lemon juice. Pat dry with a paper towel. This is a very important step: if the chicken is not dry, the coating will not stick.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

3. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper. Place the flour on a large plate. Place the eggs and water in a shallow bowl and whisk until uniform. Place the bread crumbs, tarragon, and basil on another large plate and mix well.

4. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess, and then in the eggs, again removing any excess. Dip in the bread crumb mixture to coat.

5. Place the chicken on a wire rack, if you have one. If not, place it on a plate covered with waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Do not cover it; you want it to air-dry.

6. Place a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the chicken breasts, one at a time, allowing the pan to reheat for about 30 seconds between additions. Cook until the chicken is deeply browned and the juices run clear, about 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. You will probably need to cook the chicken in two batches.

7. As they are cooked, transfer the chicken breasts to a sheet pan and keep them warm in the oven for up to 15 minutes.

8. Serve garnished with the lemon quarters.

From Warehouse to Your House: More than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)