This is one of our favorite easy summer chicken recipes. This lemon pepper chicken has a double kiss of lemon and spicy pepper flavor from the nasturtium compound butter. And the best part? You might have the main ingredient in the compound butter in your garden, or on your windowsill.
It had been years and years since I had eaten nasturtiums before last summer. My mother in law had given us some from her garden in the aughts, but the memory of that eluded me when I started talking to one of our farmers market friends about edible flowers while I was checking out. When Lorelai said how delicious nasturtiums are, that rang a vague bell.
I said I’d try to find some, and Lorelai said no worries. She’d bring me some from her garden.
The next Saturday sure enough, she remembered to bring me a bag full of the bright little flowers. (Note: She wouldn’t let me pay her for them, so I brought her some jalapeno cheddar scones as a thank you. You’ve got to take care of the people who take care of you!)
When I got back to the apartment, I sat down and opened the bag and peered down at the little blossoms.
“What can I make with nasturtiums?” was the question that popped into my mind.
They were bright and incredibly peppery, and when I thought about what I’d like to make with them, the first thing that popped into my mind was a salad.
And while that would be pretty, it didn’t seem special enough for our maiden voyage together.
Then I spotted some butter on the counter, and it came to me in a flash.
Nasturtium lemon butter.
Now, that my friends is what I call special.
I thought it would make a really easy summer recipe, and would capture the color of the season.
Done, and done.
Nasturtium Butter Ingredients: (full recipe below)
Nasturtium flowers: They’re bright and peppery. And there’s a decent chance you have some growing in your apartment or in your garden. (Jedd has been growing some for us this summer, and wow, what a cheerful thing to see every day!)
Room Temperature Butter: You want the salted stuff here. It just gives the compound butter a little sumpin’ sumpin.’
Lemon Juice and Zest: Always zest before you squeeze. Otherwise, you’ll feel get a little grumpy.
How to Make Nasturtium Compound Butter: (full recipe below)
Combine all the ingredients in a small food processor. Chop until well combined. Or, if you don’t have a mini-food processor, just finely chop the flowers and mix them in by hand to the room temperature butter with the other ingredients.
Place the butter on a large piece of wax paper, and roll it up into a cylinder. Twist the ends and freeze until cold. Serve on cooked chicken, or for long-term storage, transfer to a resealable plastic bag.
Lemon Black Pepper Chicken Ingredients and How to Cook Them
Lemon Juice: You want a decent amount of lemon juice to give the chicken some great tang.
Fresh Ground Black Pepper: It has to be fresh from the grinder for that punch of flavor.
Olive Oil: Get your good olive oil on.
Salt: Coarse kosher salt is your friend here.
Combine your ingredients in a bowl, and whisk them up. And then get your chicken in a resealable bag and let it hang out in the fridge for a bit.
Then get that grill or oven going. And voila!
An easy summer chicken dinner is in your hands and on your plate.
Looking for other chicken recipes? Give these a shot.
Preserved Lemon Pomegranate Chicken with Blood Orange Salsa
Lemon Black Pepper Chicken with Nasturtium Compound Butter
Nasturtium Compound Butter Ingredients:
1 stick room-temperature salted butter
4-5 nasturtium blossoms
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Place all the ingredients in a mini-food processor and process until well combined. Or, thinly slice the flower blossoms, and place all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Use a fork and mash them together.
Place the butter mixture on a piece of wax paper and roll into a cylinder. Twist the ends of the paper and freeze for 30 minutes. (If you’d like to keep the butter for long term storage, transfer to an airtight container, or resealable plastic bag.)
Lemon Black Pepper Chicken Ingredients:
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 boneless, skinless thighs
Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, and salt in a small bowl.
Place the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag, and pour the marinade over the chicken. Seal the bag and work the bag with your hands to coat the chicken well.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Fit a medium, rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Place chicken on the prepared pan, and discard marinade.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken registers 165 degrees with a meat thermometer.
Serve the chicken with the nasturtium compound butter.
(Photos by Launie Kettler)