Monday, February 12, 2007

Olive & Herb Breaded Chicken Breasts

Olive & Herb Breaded Chicken Breasts
Inspired by the latest Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 27 (at least it's the latest here in Canada)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Fridge time: 1-24 hours
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 2

2 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless, butterflied
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp paprika (I used Hot)
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Handful of pitted Kalamata olives
¼ cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
½ tsp red chili pepper flakes
1-2 tbsp olive oil for frying

1. In a food processor, chop the olives (2 or 3 pulses should do it). Add the rest of the ingredients for the breading mixture and pulse 2-3 times.

2. To butterfly the chicken: Place chicken breast skin side up on the cutting board. If the piece has no skin on it, place the shinier, smoother side up. Start at the edge of the breast that is slightly split (the filet). Work toward the opposite edge but don’t go right to it, making a cut through the thickest part of the breast, creating a much larger, thinner piece of chicken. The idea is to end up with a piece of chicken of almost even thickness and about twice the original size.

3. Organize the 3 stages for breading the chicken: Place the flour & paprika in a medium sized zip lock baggie. Beat the egg and olive oil in a deep dish. On a third plate or other flat surface, place a layer of breading.

4. Place the chicken, one piece at a time, in the bag of flour, shake the bag and make sure the chicken is completely covered. Place the floured chicken in the egg mixture, coat well. Hold the chicken over the egg and allow the excess to drip back in the dish. Place the chicken on a layer of breading, add more and press into the chicken. Repeat this process for the remaining chicken.

5. Cover the plate of breaded chicken with waxed paper and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour. It will stay well until the next day, but not longer.

6. Preheat the oven to 325°F/170°C and line a lipped cookie sheet with tin foil (easy cleanup) and place a cooling rack on top (allows the fat to drip off during baking).

7. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes per side. This is just to color the coating and the real cooking will take place in the oven. This process reduces the amount of oil the breading absorbs, so you get all the flavor of fried food without most of the calories.

8. Place the chicken on the prepared racks and bake for 10 minutes or until the inside is no longer pink.

I like to serve this with a simple green salad with lots of herbs and an olive oil and lemon dressing with lots of garlic in it.

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