Conquering Breading

Breading chicken has always seemed excessively fiddly to me, with all the need to have eggs or milk for breading (two "staples" which I regretfully never have on hand), and then the need to touch raw chicken, and then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs or whathaveyou. I imagine breaded fingertips and a drippy piece of chicken that overall doesn't seem worth the effort when you could just grill the darn thing, and use tongs.
So I'm rather glad this coconut chicken had me hooked and determined just on those two words, because otherwise I might not have been so daring. And as it turns out, it really isn't fiddly at all - though perhaps that's a product of the recipe making for two instead of a larger batch (though I'm sure you could easily increase the quantities accordingly for one). I did end up with the breaded fingers, though because the whole process goes so quickly it didn't bother me. I'm actually even contemplating substituting large prawns for the chicken, but that's an ambition for another day.

adapted from Gourmet, September 1990

1 large garlic clove, mashed to a paste with 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging
1 large egg
1 Tbsp water
1/2 - 3/4 c sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 - 3/4 c panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp white wine

Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a small bowl whisk together the garlic paste, ginger and mustard. Spread the mixture evenly on both sides of the chicken breast halves.
Have ready the seasoned flour in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg and water well. In a third bowl gently toss together the coconut and panko to mix.
Dredge the chicken in the flour, then dip in the egg wash, letting excess drip off, and coat thoroughly in the coconut mixture, pressing to adhere.
Melt the butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium high heat, letting the foam subside. Saute the chicken for about 2 minutes each side (while you don't want the coconut mixture to burn or blacken too much, letting it go beyond golden brown is more flavorful than stopping at golden) until toasted looking. Add the white wine to the pan and transfer the skillet to the heated oven. Bake the chicken for 10 to 12 minutes, perhaps turning over once, until just cooked through.

adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2001

zest of 1 lime
1/4 c fresh lime juice
scant Tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1 seeded and minced

1 English cucumber, seeded and sliced into thick matchsticks
1/2 thinly sliced Vidalia onion
2 tsp chopped cilantro

Whisk the lime zest and juice, fish sauce, sugar and
jalapeño in abowl. Toss in the cucumber and onion and stir in the cilantro. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Stir well again and pour off some of the excess liquid.


Blogger Laura Rebecca said...

That looks so good -- right up my alley!

Your pictures, on this post and elsewhere, are gorgeous.

7:34 AM  

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