6 Jul


My friend Merriam-Webster defines simplicity as:

  • the state of being simple, uncomplicated or uncompounded
  • lack of subtlety or penetration
  • freedom from pretense or guile
  • directness of expression
  • restraint in ornamentation

In most things, I would never be associated with any of those definitions.  On my best days, I am anything but simple or uncomplicated.  But when it comes to cooking, I am consistently drawn to recipes that are simple, direct, and even restrained.  Maybe it’s an attempt to bring a small bit of balance into my life.  Or maybe it’s just that I don’t buy into the notion that all good things come at a high price whether that be monetary or otherwise.

Sometimes the biggest payoffs come from the smallest investments.  A warm smile, an unrestrained hug, a genuine apology.  None of these have a huge cost but can be powerful.  So too can simple flavors, like lime. If lime juice were the equivalent of a polite handshake from an acquaintance, then lime zest would be a big bear hug from a good friend.  Seriously.

It has the power to transform average into extraordinary, to make your taste buds come alive and sing with delight.  Is it a coincidence that people talk about having a zest for life?  I think not.  Zest is uncomplicated and unpretentious, concentrated and intense.  The essence of the thing, if you will.   And a little goes a long way.  Talk about a good return on your investment.

I wish all things in life could be so simple.

Chicken with Lime Butter

The Washington Post

I added the lime zest to the Post’s original recipe.  They recommend serving this with sauteed carrots or green beans.  I paired it with Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of tenderloins and excess fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil (I edited this down from the original 3 to 4 tablespoons in WaPo’s recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • zest of one lime
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced chives, plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook for about 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Use tongs to turn chicken over and cook for 1 minute or until lightly browned on the other side.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the chicken is firm to the touch and its internal temperature taken with an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil.

Drain any excess juices and fat from the skillet, then return skillet to the stove top (remember, the handle of your skillet is going to be HOT).  Add the lime juice and zest and heat over medium-low heat.  Add the butter, stirring or whisking constantly until melted, to form an almost opaque sauce.  Remove from the heat, add the herbs, and stir to combine.

Spoon sauce over each chicken breast and serve.


4 Responses to “Simplicity”

  1. Lara 28 July 2009 at 5:51 pm #

    SOOOOO good! Although, I did forget that the pan was hot so I am presently typing with my left hand only. My sauce was beautiful for about a minute, and then it separated…too hot?

  2. Wendi 29 July 2009 at 7:03 am #


    Ouch. I’ve done that before. Ended up with a second degree burn which has been a good reminder to keep the oven mitts with me at all times.

    I don’t think that the sauce would break from the pan being too hot. But it couldn’t hurt to let it cool slightly after you drain off the excess juice and oil before you add the lime juice and butter. If there was too much cooking juice or oil left in the pan, that might throw your sauce off.



  1. Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots « Exit 51 – Washington Boulevard - 8 July 2009

    […] I was trying to decide what to pair with the Chicken with Lime Butter, I went into my recipe closet and came out with Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots.  Lime […]

  2. From The Files – Chicken with Rosemary Sauce « Bon Appetit Hon - 9 November 2009

    […] in the times stated. But I always forget to do that. You could use the pan/oven method that makes Chicken With Lime Butter perfectly cooked in less than 15 minutes. I should too. Because that’s pretty foolproof. […]

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