Panko-Crusted Chicken Breast

This is a favorite go-to meal for mid-week.   Pound the chicken breasts evenly to 1/2 inch thickness, or
less, and they cook up in no time.  In this recipe we dip the chicken in eggs to provide a base for the
crumbs to stick to, but you could use anything you have on hand.  Alternatives are eggs, milk, or Dijon
mustard spread over the chicken before pressing into bread crumbs.  A squeeze of lemon over the top
just before serving brightens the flavor.  

Cook's note:  Panko bread crumbs are commonly used in tempura.  They are a bit larger than regular
bread crumbs and create a light and crunchy coating.  Look for the Panko crumbs on the Asian aisle
with the other Japanese items in your regular supermarket.  

Difficulty:  Easy
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Total Time:  30 minutes
Serves 4

1 1/4 cups Panko bread crumbs*
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup grated Parmigiano cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Milk
4 boneless skinless chicken breast, each about 6 ounces
Olive oil

*(I like to use the Japanese Panko bread crumbs.  They‘re larger and give more of a crunch.  But, any dry
bread crumb will work.)

Mix the bread crumbs with the thyme, parmigiano cheese, lemon zest, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

Place each chicken breast in a large plastic bag or, place between plastic wrap or wax paper, and
pound each breast to equal thickness using either a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet. Put the  
some milk in one shallow dish and the bread crumbs in another. Pat the chicken dry and season both
sides with salt and pepper. Next, run the breast through the milk to coat it. (Alternative:  rub the chicken
breast with Dijon mustard instead of the milk.)  Lay the chicken in the bread crumbs, turn it over and
press it into the breading to coat. Lay on a piece of waxed paper.

Heat a large skillet (12 inches in diameter) over medium heat. Coat the bottom of the skillet with olive
oil.  When the oil is hot, lay 2 chicken breasts in the pan. Cook the chicken without turning until
beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook until equally brown on the other side,
about 2-3 minutes or more depending on the thickness of the chicken breast.  Repeat with the
remaining 2 breasts. Transfer chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Serving suggestion
: Serve with a simple salad (like the tomato salad shown) or steamed vegetables
and rice or potatoes.
The Plat du Jour
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