Friday, February 5, 2010

Chicken breasts - who said being flat was a bad thing?

Have you ever made boneless breasts and they were just sorta "meh?"  Maybe a little tough, maybe dry, maybe just not that good?  What if I told you there was a way to get perfect Chicken Breasts every time? That they'd be moist, tender, juicy? How much would you pay for something like that? $40? $30? well, today, I can offer it to you for not $20, not $17.99, not even $10! No, today I am offering you these juicy, tender chicken breasts...for the price of $0!!!!!!!  FREEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! Yes, that's right, and if you act now, I'll throw a second variation in - that's TWO  recipes for the PRICE OF ONE!!!!  Just call the toll-free number on your television screen NOW!

.....Ooops, sorry...I was channelling my inner Billy Mays there for a moment....

But yes, there is a very simple way you can get tender moist chix breasts every time.  (At least, every time I've made them this way they've been yummy) The best part is, you get to vent some of your frustrations - that idiot that cut you off on the highway...that rude store clerk you felt like smacking...that customer that tried to pinch your butt...*insert idiot of choice here*  And again, this is EASY, and very open to variations.  If you hadn't noticed, I like variety.  I love having a good, solid, base recipe that I can "expound" upon.  This is that sort of recipe.  Use regular bread crumbs and serve with lemon? Wiener Schnitzel!  Use regular bread crumbs, add some parmesean cheese and add some basil and oregano? Italian! Panko and Five Spice seasoning? Asian!  Add some parsely, thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram (aka "Bouquet Garni") omit the bread crumbs, saute the chix in butter with the herbs thrown in and add a bit of white wine to the pan as a light sauce and a squeeze of lemon? French!  

Here is the list of ingredients:
  1. 1 pound of boneless chicken breasts (that's about 2-3 halves)
  2. 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  3. Italian Seasoning (I use that McCormicks' Grinder - LOVE IT)
  4. Salt and Pepper
  5. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  6. 1 egg, slightly beaten in a shallow dish.

If you don't have a roll of Waxed Paper in your cabinets, I suggest getting one.   It's cheap (usually around $2) and very versatile.  You can use it to line your cake pans - cut a piece to the size of your pan (trace around the rim) and wallah.  no sticking!  *NOTE - do NOT line cookie sheets with waxed paper unless you want a smoking, yukky tasting mess*  You can also use wax paper if you are say...making chocolate dipped strawberries for Valentine's Day.  The strawberries will dry nicely on the waxed paper, again without sticking.  You can use it to press a flower between two sheets using an iron.  You can use it to roll out pie crust.  Cut a piece the size of your cake - Pipe the decorations (flowers, lettering, whatever) onto the waxed paper template, pop it into the freezer for about 1/2 an hour, then use a spatula to carefully slide the decor off onto the cake exactly where you want it.  Gluing anything? line your work surface with wax paper.  Use a piece of wax paper to shine up your faucets before company comes.  It keeps water spots off them temporarily and they will be gleaming.  Use it to cover something you are reheating in the microwave - no more splatters! My mother always put a piece on top of fresh pudding before putting it in the fridge to make it easy to remove the skin that formed.  And last but not can use it to pound out chicken breasts, and save cleaning your counters and rolling pin. (See, there was a reason behind my ramblings!)

Take a chicken breast and place it between two pieces of waxed paper.  Get out your nice heavy rolling pin (if you don't have one - have your hubby buy you one "just because" or use a wooden mallet.  Don't use a hammer - actually, you COULD use a hammer if you turn it sideways and use it that way)  and start pounding.  Start from one end of the chicken breast, and work your way down.  You want that bad boy thin.  About 1/4" thick or a tad more.  The picture above shows the contrast between pre-pounded and pounded.  Below shows what the breast looks like when you're done.
Do the same with the other two breasts you have.  You can re-use the waxed paper until it starts getting torn.   Now get your egg and bread crumbs ready.  Beat the egg slightly and put in a shallow dish - in another dish put the bread crumbs.  Grind some Italian Seasoning on top - about 20 grinds or so - if you are using dried seasoning in a jar, put about 2 teaspoons, and throw a bit of salt (or if you have it...Seasonello) in with the Panko, and toss lightly with your fingers to combine.

You make want to cut your flattened breasts in half to make it easier to dip and fry them up.  Dip the breast first into the beaten egg, then into the Panko mixture, making sure the breast is coated evenly. 

Heat some EVOO up in a large frying pan - a couple turns around the pan to evenly cover the bottom should do it - you can always add more if need be.  Saute the breasts on medium heat until browned - about 2-3 minutes per side (it does NOT take long) Carefully flip and brown the other side, then keep warm in a 250 degree oven while you finish up the other breasts.

This is what they should look like in the pan when browned.  Add more EVOO if you need to with the second batch to ensure even browning.  Below is what they look like on the plate after you serve them with that yummy asparagus you just roasted in the oven (Recipe from the 3rd)

Enjoy! This is nice enough to serve when company comes, and easy enough you won't be spending all of your time in the kitchen.  Make a small antipasto salad (salami, fresh mozzarella, red peppers, onions, greens, tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette - Paul Newman has an excellent one - or...make your own with Good Seasons Italian dressing mix, except use balsamic vinegar instead of white vinegar) serve with a nice Prosecco or Pinot Grigio and voila! you are set!  For dessert, keep it simple - some lemon ice with ginger snaps, or gelato.  Enjoy!! 

This should serve 4 normal people - I'm not counting teenage boys - double the recipe if you are making this for them - or even for husbands/boyfriends/SOs who *think* they are still teenage boys.  :-D


  1. Yummyyy I'm gonna make this one with Joey sometime soon.

  2. OMG.must make that. my mouth is watering already.