Miami Herald

Ritzy Cheddar Chicken Breasts

- By Eric Kim

Yield: 4 servings

They’re as good as they sound: cheesy chicken cutlets coated with buttery Ritz crackers. Skipping the usual flouregg-bread crumb dredge, this recipe relies instead on a flavorful base layer of tangy sour cream, which has lactic acid that tenderizes boneless, skinless chicken breasts beautifull­y. When it comes to breaded white meat, thin cutlets are ideal, which you can buy from the store or achieve by slicing thick breasts in half horizontal­ly (no pounding necessary). They cook more evenly this way, staying tender throughout as they’re quickly baked in a hot oven. Serve with something fresh — a big green salad, perhaps — to balance the wonderful richness of this nostalgic number.

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing wire rack 1⁄4 cup sour cream

1 large egg white

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ⁄2

1 pounds total)

1 sleeve Ritz crackers

2 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

(about 1 cup)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Position rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place an ovenproof wire rack over a sheet pan. Dab a folded-up paper towel with olive oil and rub it over the wire rack to grease it. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg white and Dijon mustard until smooth. Season with salt. Lay the chicken flat on a cutting board and carve each breast in half horizontal­ly so you end up with four thin cutlets. Add the chicken to the sour cream mixture, and using your hands, smear the sour cream all over the chicken. In a large bowl, crush the Ritz crackers into coarse pieces with your fingers. Some crackers will turn to rubble while others turn to dust. Add the cheese, garlic powder, onion powder and olive oil. Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and toss until evenly distribute­d. Holding one of the chicken cutlets by its thinner end, add to the bowl with the crumbs, and using your hands, pack the crumbs onto the chicken, pressing them in to create a thick coating. Transfer the breaded chicken to the rack in the sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining three cutlets. Bake the cutlets until the outsides are crispy and the insides are no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Let the chicken cool slightly so the coating can set, about 5 minutes, before transferri­ng to plates and serving.

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