Joan Fontaine's Favorite Chicken Dish Was Her Own Creation

Not only was Joan Fontaine an Oscar-winning movie star during the Golden Age of Hollywood, her creativity extended to the culinary arts as well. Fontaine was a graduate of New York's prestigious Cordon Bleu Cooking School and was known to cook extravagant feasts for giant dinner parties out of her commercial-grade home kitchen. So, when she named her favorite proprietary chicken recipe after herself, it was well-earned.

According to Silver Screen Suppers, Chicken Fontaine is a bright and flavorful chicken dish Fontaine created and contributed to the public in the 1978 publication of "The Celebrity Cookbook." It's a simple yet elegant pan-fried chicken dish that showcases Fontaine's professional training with savvy cooking and flavoring methods. The recipe instructs cooks to pound chicken breasts to tenderize them, followed by a mess-free flour dredging in which you place the chicken in a ziplock bag with the flour and shake to coat. Then, the lightly breaded chicken is thrown into a saucepan with plenty of bubbling butter to fry. After the chicken has been cooked on both sides, you'll add lemon juice and zest, capers, and a dash of sherry, covering the pan to simmer for another minute.

The result is a well-rounded flavor profile of savory, buttery chicken, tart and sweet notes from the lemon juice and sherry, and a burst of floral and aromatic flavors from the capers and lemon zest. The flour coating gives the chicken a crisp exterior while the butter, lemon juice, and sherry create a juicy, tender interior.

Chicken Fontaine side dish pairings

Chicken Fontaine is one of many recipes the Hollywood star shared with her fans from an impressive repertoire of mains, sides, and desserts. Other recipes include baked lamb shanks with saffron rice, curried tomatoes, filet of Sole a la Bagge, snow whirl chocolate roll, and oven-poached peach marzipan with peach plum mousse to name a few. Her recipe for Creole fish gumbo was even featured in the New York Times

Chicken Fontaine is by far the simplest and easiest of her recipes to execute, taking less than 20 minutes from preparation through cooking. Since lemon, capers, and cooking sherry are all common ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine, Chicken Fontaine would work well over spaghetti or linguine. The residual butter, lemon, and caper mixture would make a delicious sauce for the pasta, which you could bolster with a bit of reserved pasta water mixed with flour and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, cracked pepper, and freshly grated parmesan. You could also pair it with a Moroccan couscous salad with red onion, garbanzo beans, fresh mint, and red bell peppers. If you're looking for lighter sides, stir-fried broccoli rabe, lemony asparagus, or a bright and sweet beet and kale salad with feta cheese, avocados, and candied walnuts would offer elegance and a pop of color.