When I was growing up, a heated debate broke out over the chicken whenever my parents took our family out for Italian food. My father, a dark-meat and garlic guy to his core, espoused the charms of chicken scarpariello. But my lemon-loving mother preferred chicken francese — batter-fried chicken breasts with their tangy, winy, citrus-imbued pan sauce.
Anna Francese Gass (no relation, probably) has a new take on that Italian American classic (above): She pan-fries artichoke hearts and thin lemon slices in the same batter as the chicken, making for a hearty dish with extra texture and zip that one reader notes is a wonderful “break from the ordinary.” It’s a hands-down winner.
Chicken and Artichoke Francese
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It’s a bountiful week for lemon lovers at New York Times Cooking. Ali Slagle has a fantastic recipe for white beans and asparagus with charred lemon, all brought together with coconut milk, which makes the dish both creamy and vegan. Cook this with in-season asparagus now, then swap in leafy greens in winter and fall.
I cannot wait to whip up Yossy Arefi’s new potato salad with lemon and feta, in which she cleverly roasts, rather than boils, the potatoes to give them a crisp texture and deeply caramelized flavor. The mix of olives, pepperoncini and tomatoes packs a sweet, briny punch, perfect alongside grilled chicken, fish, hot dogs or whatever you’re planning for Memorial Day weekend.
On the sweet side of lemony delights, I have two oldies but goodies to suggest: a lemon-ginger tart with a press-in-the-pan shortbread crust, and a batch of lemon-blueberry bars, filled with homemade lemon curd and fresh blueberries. You can’t go wrong with either one. Or better yet, make both, and live your best life finishing the leftovers.
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A Zesty Tip for Boosting Citrus Flavor
Next time you’re making a recipe that calls for using only the juice of a lemon (or any citrus fruit), grate in some of the zest as well. The zest brings the citrus flavor front and center, adding a deeper, rounded lemon character to the juice’s brightness and acidity.