Monica’s Lemony Skillet Chicken

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - January 11, 2006
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Craig Schulman has made quite a name for himself, not only on national tours and on Broadway, having played the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables more than any other performer on the planet, but also here in Hawaii.

Now the New York-based performer is returning to the Hawaii Theatre, and bringing with him The Three Phantoms in Concert for three shows, Jan. 26-28, as well as stops on Maui and the Big Island.

Craig played the “man behind the mask” on the national tour, and will be joined by Cris Groenendaal, who starred as the title character when the show came here in 1993, and Kevin Gray, whose credits include not only Phantom but also Miss Saigon. Sprinkle in the 1922 Robert Morton theatre organ, played by Don Conover, and dancers from Ballet Hawaii to do Masquerade, and you have a hit show undoubtedly coming to our shores.

For more information and tickets to the show, call 528-0506.

When he’s not on the road touring nationwide, Craig and wife Monica like to relax in their beautiful Yorktown Heights home and gather in the kitchen. They are parents of son Matthew, a 20-year old junior at Penn State; Eric, a 16-year old high school junior; and Maya, who just turned 7. Monica is a busy mom, especially with her opera coaching in New York City and her arts management firm, but she finds time to make the family favorite dish, which she has graciously given me to share with MidWeek readers.

Lemons are a good flavor-enhancer and a good substitute for salt. Lemon juice may be used to replace vinegar in salad dressings and is used to tenderize meat, poultry, fish and game. The juice also prevents cut fruits such as apples and bananas from dis-coloring. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over cooked vegetables, seafood and salads for a healthful and flavorful seasoning. Add grated lemon peel to baked goods, fruit compotes, desserts and sauces.

When purchasing, choose lemons that are firm, heavy for their size and have thin, smooth skins. Avoid lemons with bruised, discolored or wrinkled skins, or hard or soft patches, as these are indications that the fruit is not fresh. Green-tinged lemons tend to be more acidic and coarse-skinned lemons usually have a very thick skin and not as much flesh. Ripe lemons should also have a pleasant citrus fragrance.

Lemons may be kept at room temperature for about a week; for longer storage, keep refrigerated. Both the juice and the zest of lemons may be frozen. The zest of lemons can be grated or sliced and is available candied or dried.

Lemons, like all citrus fruits, are rich in vitamin C, and they also provide potassium and folic acid.


* 1 pound thin-sliced chicken cutlets
* salt and freshly ground pepper
* 2 large eggs (may substitute 4 egg whites to lower fat and cholesterol)
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 1/4 cup dry white wine
* 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* lemon wedges

1) Place the chicken cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap. With a meat pounder or mallet, gently pound the slices to about a one-fourth-inch thickness. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

2) Put the eggs in a shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper, and beat until well-blended. Spread the flour on a plate. Mix together the broth, wine and lemon juice in a measuring cup or bowl.

3) Heat the oil with the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until sizzling. Dip only enough of the cutlets in the flour as will fit in the pan in a single layer, dip them in the egg, and add to the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Regulate the heat so that the butter does not burn. Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep it warm. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

4) When all of the chicken is done, add the broth mixture to the pan. Raise the heat and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in the parsley.

5) Return the chicken pieces to the skillet and turn them once or twice in the sauce. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges.

Makes four servings.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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