Walnuts that is! I first found this recipe in FOOD magazine and it’s a great alternative to your traditional chicken fingers. Plus you get a healthy dose of omega-3s. The walnut coating really keeps the chicken moist and it has a wonderful roasty toasty flavor.
I also tried to brine the chicken breasts before coating them to increase their moisture and juiciness. I wouldn’t brine them longer than 45 minutes to an hour or else they can get too salty and dry out. Since my taste buds have grown accustomed to less salt, I can really notice salty flavors. But, brining for about an hour made the chicken really moist and flavorful.
Here’s what I did for the brine:
- 4 cups H20
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 smashed garlic cloves
- pinch of black pepper and an all-purpose seasoning
- 1-1.25 lbs chicken breasts cut lengthwise to make flatter
Place all ingredients into a zip-lock bag and mix well until dissolved. Place prepped chicken breasts in bag and let marinate for 45 minutes to an hour. Pat dry before coating.
Now for the lovely coating (these measurements are approximate depending on how much chicken I have):
- 2 cups roasted walnut pieces
- 1/4 loaf TJ’s garlic ciabatta bread pulsed into breadcrumbs in the food processor (or about 1/2 cup of your favorite breadcrumbs)
- 1/3 cup parmesan/romano cheese blend
- garlic powder and all-purpose seasoning like Mrs. Dash
- 1 egg or 2 egg whites
- 1 cup of flour
- 1-1.25 lbs brined chicken breasts
Place the walnuts, breadcrumbs, parmesan and seasonings in a food processor and pulse until a course crumb coating forms. Place this mixture into a shallow wide dish.
Place beaten egg or egg whites in another shallow wide dish, and the flour in another shallow wide dish.
Let’s get coating! Place brined chicken breasts on a plate lined with paper towels to pat dry. For each breast coat in flour; shake off access. Then coat in egg; shake of access. And finally dredge in walnut coating. Place chicken in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat with a little olive oil for about 5-7 minutes each side (depending on the thickness) until golden and slightly firm to the touch. You may have to do several batches, wiping out the pan. Let rest on paper towels to absorb excess oil and enjoy!
Enjoy with a nice side salad and roasted veggies. These also make for great leftovers like baked chicken pasta parmesan.
The Health Nut is giving away BPA-free Nalgene bottles to a lucky winner and the contest ends soon, so get over there and make some comments! I haven’t quite made the complete switch to BPA-free bottles, but I would like to just out of precaution with the studies out there and the possible dangers with BPA. I love those bottles because they really keep me drinking enough while at work and on the go.