Jo-Anne van den Berg-Ohms
John Scheepers * Bantam, CT

I love to make recipe basics in advance and freeze them for use later. I always have freezer bags of my lemon chicken on hand, as well as oven-baked eggplant. It makes delicious and healthy dinners a snap on work nights, particularly during the bulb season when easy, quick comfort food is such a saving grace.

Aubergine Lemon Chicken
  • 1 large eggplant, about 1 pound (preferred: Black Opal or Vittoria)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups panko crumbs
  • Olive oil

  • 6 halved skinned, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese (1/4 inch thick)
  • 6 to 10 basil leaves

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel the eggplant. Cut it into half inch slices (at least six). Very lightly oil a baking sheet with the olive oil.

    Add a little salt and pepper to the flour in a bowl. In a second bowl, fork stir the eggs. Put the panko crumbs in a third bowl. (If you don’t have panko crumbs, you can use herbed bread crumbs. You may also add salt, pepper or other herbs to the panko crumbs if you wish, like basil or even finely grated Parmesan cheese.) Dredge each eggplant slice in the flour, tapping off any excess. Dip each eggplant slice in the egg wash, and then the panko crumbs, pressing to coat evenly and lightly. Place the breaded eggplant slices on the oiled baking sheet, spreading them out evenly. Bake at 375 degrees F until just golden, about 20 minutes. Flip the slices over and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. (The eggplant can be used in a recipe immediately or frozen in airtight freezer bags for three or four months.)

    Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Either pound the chicken breasts to a half inch thick or butterfly and pound to a half inch thick. Put the flour in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, fork stir the eggs. Dredge each chicken breast in the flour, dip into the egg wash and dredge again in the flour, tapping off any excess. In a large skillet, in batches, sauté the chicken breasts in the butter and olive oil until almost golden, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside on a platter. Add the butter, lemon juice, white wine and chicken broth to the skillet. Stir to deglaze. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to a simmer. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste. Add the chicken breasts and accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer on low for 10 minutes to infuse the chicken with the sauce and to reduce the sauce.

    Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Top each breast with an eggplant slice and a spoon of the lemon sauce. Top each eggplant slice with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Pour any remaining lemon sauce into the baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F until the cheese is warm and melted, about ten minutes. Top each chicken breast with a little bit of very fine slivers of fresh basil. Serve with orzo cooked in chicken broth and crusty bread. Serves six.

  • Recipe Seeds: Basil, Eggplant

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