Pan-fried chicken well worth the ef­fort

Cecil Whig - - JUMPSTART - By Re­Becca Bent

I warn you, this recipe has some steps that might make you think twice. It’s not hard, per se, it’s just got a lot go­ing on. Even so, I will tell you, it’s worth it.

If you want to speed up the tim­ing, pre­pare the mint pesto in ad­vance. Store it in the re­frig­er­a­tor with plas­tic wrap touch­ing the sur­face so it won’t turn brown. Or even pan-fry the chicken in ad­vance and heat it up in the oven with a foil tent. Pan-fried Chicken Breasts with Mint

Pesto Sauce Makes four hearty serv­ings

For the chicken: 3/4 cup all-pur­pose flour 1 tea­spoon sea salt 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped 3 eggs, whisked (you might not re­ally need this many, so you can do one at a time if you pre­fer) 4 chicken breast on the bone with the skin left on (size will only mat­ter for cook­ing time) 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the pan

For the mint pesto: 1 cup fresh flat leaf pars­ley leaves 2 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves 2 tea­spoon gar­lic paste (store-bought) 1/4 cup grated Parme­san cheese 1 ta­ble­spoon wal­nuts or pine nuts 1/2 tea­spoon sea salt 1/2 cup 100 per­cent olive oil 1/4 cup very good extra vir­gin olive oil In a shal­low bowl (that a piece of chicken could fit into) com­bine the flour, salt and mint leaves.

In another shal­low bowl, whisk the eggs (ei­ther one at a time un­til the next one is needed or all to­gether). Set both aside. Rinse the chicken breasts then pat dry it dry with a pa­per towel. It is im­por­tant the chicken doesn’t have any liq­uid on it.

Dredge the chicken through the egg bath; shake off any ex­cess liq­uid. Then dredge it through the flour mix­ture. Set it aside on a wire rack. Do this with all the chicken. Re­peat these steps, cre­at­ing a sec­ond coat­ing on the chicken. Set the chicken aside on the wire rack to dry.

When you are ready to fry the chicken, set a skil­let, which should be large enough to hold all the chicken, over medium heat and slick the bot­tom with the olive oil. You may have to in­clude more oil. There should be at least 1/8 inch of oil in the pan. When the oil be­gins to rip­ple (about 350 F), care­fully add in the chicken and fry it un­til the inside tem­per­a­ture reaches 165 F. Con­trol the heat so the tem­per­a­ture re­mains con­sis­tent. Pan-fry­ing chicken usu­ally takes about six to eight min­utes per side (but this de­pends on the breast thick­ness). Use a splat­ter screen when fry­ing to avoid way­ward fly­ing oil and make sure to use tongs when turn­ing the chicken.

While the chicken is pan-fry­ing, pre­pare the pesto. In a medium saucepan over high heat, fill it half­way with wa­ter. Blanche the pars­ley and mint by drop­ping it into the hot wa­ter and let­ting it sit for 30 sec­onds. Trans­fer the pars­ley and mint di­rectly from the hot wa­ter into a stand­ing blender. Add in the gar­lic, cheese, wal­nut, salt and olive oil, and 1 ta­ble­spoon of wa­ter and cover it with a lid. Pulse un­til all the in­gre­di­ents are well com­bined. If the in­gre­di­ents do not mix, add in another ta­ble­spoon of wa­ter and pulse again. With a spat­ula, trans­fer the mix­ture into a wide bowl and cover it in the good olive oil. Gen­tly mix. Taste and cor­rect with salt then let it sit to steep.

To as­sem­ble this dish, evenly di­vide up the chicken among four plates and add a scoop fresh mint pesto on top. If you like, serve the chicken on a salad (as in the photo) to make you feel a lit­tle better about eat­ing the de­li­cious pan-fried chicken!

Cook­ing at Home is a weekly col­umn where Re­becca dishes on what she’s been mak­ing.


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