Pan-Fried Almond-Crusted Chicken Breasts

There comes a time in every woman and man's life when a piece of breaded chicken is an absolute necessity. It's one dish that never fails on flavor and moisture, and is a spot-hitter every time. For one of my clients, it's been every other Thursday for two months now. I make sure to pair this with tons of leafy green salads, since fried cutlets doesn't exactly make this a lean white meat. Almonds however, do add some nutritional gain over the often used all-purpose flour or bread crumbs situation. The mellow nuttiness crust of this also makes me prefer this version over the rest.

Pounding is key since we want an evenly cooked, non-raw outcome:

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I use plastic wrap (cover top and bottom), before pounding. 1/2"-3/4" is the target.

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Whisk together the eggs and mustard. I used four, but you really need three. 

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This is how to check if your oil's hot. A few inches above and your palm should be uncomfortably warm.

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You earned these medals of gastronomic achievement.  They really do taste great even 6 days later which was when I devoured my last one. 

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Have a sheet tray lined with parchment ready. Cut each piece in half so you have 6 in total.

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A pie pan works well for this. You are setting yourself up for wild crusting success.

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Notice my assembly line chicken station. If you have the room, do this.

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I'm a honey-on-fried chicken person myself. There's a story behind that which involves snooty Hamptonites, my client's renegade sister and corn mazes, but I'll keep that in my back pocket for now.

Pan-Fried Almond-Crusted Chicken Breasts

INGREDIENTS: (makes 6 pieces)

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (a little over a pound in total)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½  teaspoon dijon
  • 1 ½  cups almond flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾  teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼  teaspoon chili powder
  • canola oil for pan-frying
  • honey, BBQ, ketchup or sauce of choice for serving

1.  Start by evenly pounding each chicken breast until 3/4" thick. I loosely coddle each with plastic wrap and use a meat mallet. Cut each piece in half and set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and dijon. Set aside.

3.  In either another bowl or a pie pan, mix together the almond flour, paprika, salt, garlic powder and chili powder.

4. Set up your breading station: place your sauté pan on the stove over medium heat. Have a sheet tray with wire wrack and either a spatula or tongs on it. Pour enough canola oil into your pan to coat the chicken half way.

5.  In batches, lightly season the chicken with salt (there's some in the coating already so don't go crazy), and dip each piece into the egg mixture and then the almond mixture.

6.  Hold your had about 4 inches from the oil, when it is hot, carefully drop each piece in. If the chicken seems to be browning very fast, turn the heat down a little–you don't want a raw center. When a nice deep golden -brown, flip and finish the other side. Place on rack to drain excess oil.

Serve chicken with sauce of choice (I love honey)!

Chef's Notes:

–If you don't have a meat mallet, a rolling pin or bottle of wine does the job.
–The size of pan you use will determine how many batches you cook. Don't smother the pan. I'd also recommend three at the most since the almond meal will start burning at the bottom of the pan. If you want to be super soigné, remove any loose almond bits in-between cooking.

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