Pan-fried chicken well worth the effort
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.