July 17, 2013

Breaded Chicken

Crispy breaded chicken is a nice technique to have in one's repertoire. While a meal featuring it probably couldn't be called light, breaded chicken is made with wholesome ingredients-- bread, egg, flour, chicken. It's not inventive either, but its lack of complexity is its charm-- moist inside, crunchy outside, yum. Everybody will like this. You can't go wrong in serving it. The essentially fried meat makes a delicious counterpoint to colorful veggies of all sorts, and the many options of what to serve it with are where you get to be creative.
I love how many different meals you could dream up beginning with this. The basic breaded chicken recipe comes from the book Dinner: A Love Story, in which Jenny Rosenstrach suggests having it with arugula and cherry tomatoes. Or, you could cut your chicken up small before breading it and call it chicken nuggets, or in strips and call it chicken fingers, if you wanted to. It's great on top of or on the side of a big salad-- the top photo has greens with roasted golden beets and blue cheese. With a fried egg or other goodies, it could be chopped up and served on rice. For a dinner salad, I bet it would be good chopped up with greens and any number of cold blanched or roasted veggies (green beans, asparagus...), hard-boiled egg, and some Parmesan or Cheddar cheese. It can be turned into a Chicken Parmesan dinner, an especially quick and satisfying trick if you have the chicken leftover from a previous night. In general, when you are going to bother with the slight mess and multiple bowls involved in breading and pan frying, I think it's a smart idea to make double the amount of breaded chicken and then plan two different meals featuring it a few nights apart.

Breaded Chicken
from Dinner a Love Story, Jenny Rosenstrach

2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 C+ flour
1 1/2 C+ plain bread crumbs, salted and peppered (could add other seasonings or Parmesan to crumbs)
~ 1 1/4 lbs. boneless chicken pieces, pounded thin

Set up dredging stations: one rimmed plate each for eggs, flour, bread crumbs, and chicken.

Pour in enough oil to pretty well cover bottom of large skillet set over medium-high heat.

Coat chicken pieces:
-first in flour, shaking off excess,
-then in eggs,
-then in bread crumbs, pressing chicken into the crumbs to thoroughly coat.

Fry pieces in oil for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add more oil as needed as you go. They are cooked when firm to the touch. Drain chicken pieces on paper-towel-lined dinner plate.

Serves ~4. 

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