I'm a wee bit obsessed with the recipes from Cook's Illustrated. They have a proven track record in our home. They have a sister publication, Cook's Country, which seems to print simpler, homey, more family-friendly recipes as compared to Cook's Illustrated. I haven't tried a lot from them, but this pecan-crusted chicken recipe is wonderful.
- 2 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
- Salt and pepper
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally (about 1/2 inch thick each)
- 2 cups pecans
- 2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn in pieces
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with wire rack. Whisk eggs, mustard, garlic, tarragon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Add chicken, coat well, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate while preparing nut mixture.
2. Pulse pecans in food processor until finely chopped, with some pebble-sized pieces. Transfer to pie plate or shallow rimmed dish. Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground. Add bread crumbs to nuts and stir in cornstarch, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cinnamon.
3. Working one at a time, remove cutlets from egg mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Thoroughly coat chicken with nut mixture, pressing on coating to help it adhere, and transfer to large plate.
4. Heat 1/2 cup oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place 4 cutlets in skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side (lower heat if crust is browning too quickly). Transfer chicken to rack on baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Discard oil and solids from skillet and repeat with remaining oil and cutlets. Season cutlets with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
This recipe freezes beautifully. I make them ahead through Step 3 and then flash freeze the breasts. On cooking day, I defrost in the fridge, and continue on with Step 4.