Nov 5, 2012

Nut-Crusted Chicken Breasts

Also known as, the chicken so good I didn't pause to take a proper picture of it.
Or, the only recipe I've found that makes a chicken breast taste like a juicy leg.

It's cold out and we're on a quest to eat in. Hence the bag of frozen chicken breasts sitting in our freezer from Trader Joe's, and my search for recipes to make eating the typically dry and boring cut worth it. The latest issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine has two recipes that look good, ours below and the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Cutlets. I'll try those next. Er, maybe. Actually I'll probably just make these again. (and again).

We served them with buttered white rice, brussels sprouts, and fruit, and finished the meal with leftover birthday cake. Two thumbs up from two discerning men (Jim and Lee). Yes! Totally worth the mess it makes. Try it!


Nut-Crusted Chicken Breasts (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

4 (6-8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed, trimmed
Kosher salt and pepper
1 cup almonds (CI notes the recipe also works well with any type of nut)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 cup Japanese-style panko bread crumbs
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges for serving
1 tsp minced fresh thyme (I used dried thyme)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 tsp Dijon mustard

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Using fork, poke thickest half of breasts 5 to 6 times and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Transfer breasts to prepared wire rack and refrigerate, uncovered, while preparing coating.
2. Pulse almonds in food processor until they resemble coarse meal. Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until butter is browned, 4 - 5 minutes. Add shallot and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring constantly, until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add panko and almonds and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer panko mixture to shallow dish and stir in lemon zest, thyme, and cayenne. Place flour in second dish. Lightly beat eggs, mustard and 1/4 tsp pepper together in third dish. 
3. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Working with 1 breast at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then coat with egg mixture, allowing excess to drop off. Coat breast with panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Return breasts to wire rack.
4. Bake until chicken registers 160 degrees, 25-30 minutes. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.

For those of you that would like a better picture, off you go.


  1. Buttered white rice?? Some things never change...


    1. or should I say, "white people rice."
      you know you miss living with me!