Fast, Easy, and Incredibly Flavorful? This Spiced Citrus Chicken Has It Covered

March 17, 2021 Updated: March 17, 2021

There are several steps you can take to elevate lean chicken breasts for a weeknight meal.

We started with a bold citrus vinaigrette. For an intense hit of citrus flavor, we used lemon juice enhanced with both lemon and orange zest. Then, pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness ensured that they cooked at the same rate and stayed juicy.

A little cinnamon and cumin rubbed onto the chicken added deep flavor and the heady aroma of warm spice to the dish. Dredging the seasoned breasts in flour before searing protected their exteriors from becoming tough. Plus, the seared flour created a textured surface for the vinaigrette to cling to.

Slicing the cooked chicken before topping it with the vinaigrette made each bite well-seasoned. A sprinkling of cilantro added a fresh herbal counterpoint to finish the dish.

Spiced Citrus Chicken

Serves 4 to 6

For the Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

For the Chicken

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in bowl; set aside.

Combine salt, cumin, cinnamon, and pepper in a small bowl. Spread flour in a shallow dish. Place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat pounder, gently pound the thick part of the breasts to 3/4-inch thickness.

Sprinkle the spice mixture all over the chicken. Working with one breast at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, and transfer to a large plate.

Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add chicken to the skillet and cook until well browned and registering 160 degrees, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.

Slice chicken crosswise on bias and transfer to a serving platter. Stir dressing to recombine and spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Recipe Note: Use a rasp-style grater to grate the citrus zest.

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