Chicken fillets crusted with nuts and herbs
This baked chicken is juicy on the inside and crusty on the outside.
In Israel, any boned, skinless cut of meat, poultry or fish is called “schnitzel.” Normally schnitzels are breaded and fried, a quick method that prevents the meat from drying out. They’re easy to make and popular light fare for sizzling summer weather, when you come in from the street feeling broiled yourself.
These juicy chicken fillets are different, more interesting than the usual. A crust of herbs, breadcrumbs and nuts protects the meat, and instead of frying the schnitzels, you bake them quickly. The combination of juicy meat enveloped in a crisp, lively-flavored herbal crust makes a meal festive enough for any time.
- 6 skinless fillets of chicken breast
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
- 1 cup toasted, dry breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes, or more if liked
- 1/2 cup fresh herbs: parsley, chives, rocket, basil, scallions, cilantro – alone or in combination
- 1 cup toasted, ground walnuts
- Olive oil to drizzle
Preheat the oven to 450° F (220° C).
Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet for 2 minutes, tossing them around with a spatula once in a while. When a toasted aroma arises from them, remove them from the skillet and allow them to cool.
In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, black pepper and cayenne flakes.
In a food processor fitted with the knife blade, blend the walnuts and the herbs until the nuts are chopped fine. Blend the herb/nut mixture with the dry mixture of breadcrumbs and seasonings.
Blend the egg and the mustard in a separate bowl.
Dip each side of each chicken fillet into the egg mixture. Then dip each eggy fillet into the crumb mix, pressing it lightly to make the crumb mixture stick.
Place the coated fillets on a rack over a baking pan. Drizzle them all over with a thread of olive oil.
Bake 12 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside. If it seems like the crust will burn before that, cover the fillets with a sheet of tin foil.
Serve with a rosé wine, cold beer or lemonade.