Baked Dijon Mustard-Lemon Chicken and Mashed Cauliflower
This chicken recipe checks off all the important things for dinner: it’s easy, healthy and best of all, super tasty.
After plating our dinner a few days ago I quickly snapped a shot, posted it to my Instagram account and promptly went on with my evening. The following morning I woke up to messages from people saying that they had been looking for this recipe on the blog with no success.
It never occurred to me that this simple chicken dish would garner interest but here it is. It’s boneless, skinless chicken breasts marinated simply in dijon mustard, lemon, salt and pepper and baked with a panko crust. Admittedly, as simple as it is, it’s loaded with flavor and it’s become one of my go-to chicken recipes over the years.
It’s perfect for those days when I haven’t planned dinner ahead of time. When I find myself in front of the meat counter at my neighborhood market trying to come up with an easy, no-fuss dinner this is one of the dishes I usually end up serving at the table…and it never disappoints.
For a relatively short marinating time the mustard and lemon pack a lot of flavor and the panko-parmesan crust crisped up under the broiler fools me into thinking I’m eating fried chicken, something I love but rarely indulge in and never prepare at home.
Usually, these baked chicken breasts are served on a bed of greens but this time, with the cooler evenings, I prepared mashed cauliflower and drizzled both with a simple lemon-caper sauce.
The mashed cauliflower is as basic as it gets so feel free to add more butter, cream and boost with garlic and/or onion powder or even Parmesan cheese to suit your taste. I kept it simple here since the chicken and lemon-caper sauce lent ample flavor for the plate but feel free to just use my recipe as a base and make it your own.
The chicken tastes great even right out of the fridge the next day and makes for a very nice chicken sandwich. But this assuming you’ll have leftovers. We usually don’t unless I make extra so keep this in mind.
Baked Dijon Mustard Lemon Chicken and Mashed Cauliflower
This dish is low on effort but big on flavor.
- 2 boneless, skinless half breasts, split into two pieces (four pieces total)
- 1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard (I like Maille or Edmond Fallot)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
Breading (See Note)
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast)
- 2 pinches each salt and pepper
- 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
- 4-5 tablespoons chicken stock or milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon-Caper Sauce (Optional)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Juice of half lemon
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 2-3 tablespoons capers (or to taste)
In a bowl combine the ingredients from the chicken to the freshly ground pepper and make sure all the chicken pieces are coated with the mustard-lemon mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and marinate for at least 45 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with foil.
Take the chicken out of the refrigerator. Combine the breading ingredients in a shallow bowl and take each piece of marinated chicken and dip in the breading. There's no need to brush off any of the marinade–this will help the breading to stick to the chicken. Dip both sides and make sure the entire surface of the chicken is coated. Lightly shake off the excess.
Lay the breaded pieces on the lined baking sheet and spray the top with cooking spray. Bake for five minutes then broil for two to three minutes on each side. The bake and broil time may vary according to your oven. Also, my chicken pieces were thin so you may need a little more time if your chicken pieces are thicker.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Add the cauliflower florets and boil them until they're fork tender, about five minutes (alternatively, you can also steam the florets). Drain well and set aside a half cup of the water just in case you need it.
Transfer the florets to a food processor or high-speed blender. Add the butter, chicken stock and/or milk and salt and pepper. Blend/process until the mashed cauliflower has reached a texture you prefer. I would add only half the liquid and use the last half if you have trouble blending into a puree. Adjust for seasonings. If you prefer a richer mash, feel free to stir in more butter, milk or even Parmesan cheese.
In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock, butter, capers and lemon juice to a boil then lower heat to medium. Take a few tablespoons of the liquid and combine with the corn starch to make a slurry in a small bowl. Add the slurry to the saucepan and cook on medium-low until thickened.
Assemble the chicken and mashed cauliflower on a plate and drizzle with the lemon-caper sauce. Garnish with lemon wedges.
Breading: My chicken totaled one pound. If you have larger chicken breast pieces you may need more breading.