A few weeks back, California Walnuts sent me a little note asking if I’d like to try their product and, of course, I accepted because I love walnuts! One interesting fact I learned before my burlap bag of walnuts arrived was that they actually stay fresh longer when refrigerated. I had no idea! How many walnuts have sat on my pantry shelves in plastic baggies that may not have lived up to their full potential? Who knows! Walnuts are also rich with omega-3 fatty acids and have been linked to better brain functioning and lower risks of a variety of cancers. Super simple to incorporate into any diet, they can be used in baked goods, tossed into salads or eaten plain by the handful! I had some fun perusing through the California Walnuts website to find other fun recipes and also see how walnuts are harvested.
Walnut Crusted Chicken is a “skinny” version of a classic chicken cutlet. Instead of using breadcrumbs and then pan frying in olive oil and butter, I opted for finely chopped walnuts with whole wheat panko crumbs and fresh rosemary, all baked to perfection with no additional oils. Paired together, rosemary and walnuts give the chicken a fresh and earthy flavor combination that no bread crumb will ever achieve. The other benefit is that walnuts do not get soggy, so your chicken will never lose the crunch factor, even if you are eating leftovers. Although Walnut Crusted Chicken does not need much additional flavor, I added an “aioli” for a little but of intrigue and cream. Instead of using mayonnaise, I opted for plain Greek yogurt mixed with fresh lemon, salt and pepper. Very basic, but very good, and it is great on a whole host of other foods such as roasted or grilled vegetables, turkey burgers and salmon. I even use it as a salad dressing.
Time: 1 hour
Ingredients for Walnut Crusted Chicken with Lemon Dipping Sauce
Walnut Crusted Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fat trimmed
1 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 whole eggs, 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Lemon Dipping Sauce:
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Dash of black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat two 9×13 baking dishes (or some combination of baking dishes so you have enough surface space to lie chicken in a single layer).
2. Cut each breast in half, then place on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap or wax paper. Beat with a meat mallet until 1/2 inch uniform thickness.
3. Find three pie plates or large bowls. In the first bowl, combine walnuts, rosemary and whole wheat panko. In the second, lightly beaten eggs and the third, flour mixed with fine sea salt and pepper.
4. Lightly dredge each breast halve in flour, then egg and finally walnut mixture. Pat in walnuts to make sure you get a good, even coat. Place in a single layer in prepared baking dishes. Repeat with all chicken.
5. Bake chicken for approximately 30 minutes. For the last 2 minutes, change to a low broil to get a nice brown on top.
6. While chicken is cooking, whisk together all ingredients for Lemon Dipping Sauce in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
7. Remove chicken from oven and serve immediately. Sauce can be served on the side or directly on top of the chicken.
8. Enjoy your Walnut Crusted Chicken with Lemon Dipping Sauce!
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