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Fennel with Lemon Chicken

by Caroline Craig & Sophie Missing from The Little Book of Lunch

A fragrant chicken recipe, perfect for a speedy lunch. The chicken breast is married with fresh lemon, fennel and herbs with a simply olive oil dressing.


A tart and refreshing dish, also nice with leftover rice. If you want to keep it carb-free, enjoy as is.

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1 chicken breast
Rind of 1/3 lemon, plus a squeeze of lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 fennel bulb
A few crunchy lettuce leaves, e.g. little gem
1 tsp almond flakes (optional)
A sprinkling of freshly chopped thyme, flat-leaf parsley or basil (optional)
For the dressing:
1½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
A generous pinch of salt

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Slice the chicken breast into slithers and place in a bowl. Put a frying (or griddle) pan on a medium heat. Add the lemon rind, black pepper, olive oil and lemon juice to the bowl and stir until evenly coated. Pour the lot on to the hot pan, lowering the heat if the sizzling sound on impact is too wild: you don’t want to be late for work, but you certainly don’t want to frazzle your chicken.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare your lunch receptacle. Trim and then finely slice or grate in the fennel. Roughly chop your lettuce and add to the container. Top with the almond flakes if using. The chicken should be almost ready and looking nicely golden. Add whatever green herb you’re using now. If the chicken needs a few more minutes, take this opportunity to make your little dressing: add the ingredients to either a miniature jam jar or small Tupperware container. Turn the heat off and leave the chicken to cool on the upturned lid of your lunch receptacle (at this stage, we sometimes grate some fancy salt over it).

Now would be a good time to get ready for work.

When you’re ready to leave, top the fennel salad with the slightly cooled chicken, along with the lemony juices from the pan. Consider storing in the fridge at work, but remove an hour before eating.

Come lunchtime

The juices will have softened the fennel and lettuce. When you’re about to eat, pour over the dressing and give the lot a good stir to coat evenly.

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