I made this very simple, very tasty chicken dish for a late lunch last week in an effort to clean out a bunch of random ingredients from my fridge, which is still going on, by the way. I had chicken that was about to expire, grape/cherry tomatoes that were kind of getting old/soft, and I was hungry, man!
This is what I made. I loved it!
The Cast of Characters is back! Happy New Year! Ha.
By the way, in order to get this angle, I had to lean over my kitchen sink and rotate 90 degrees to the right. During this maneuver, I slipped and slammed my love handle onto the rim of the sink, and it now hurts.
Wasn’t that a beautiful story? IT’S ALL FOR THE BLOG!
First things first: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
After that, make an assembly line for breading the chicken using three dishes: In the first dish, mix the flour with a little salt and pepper.
In the second, mix the eggs and milk.
In the third, mix the panko with a little salt and pepper.
Then you do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself about. That’s what it’s all about, my friends!
I plan to do the Hokey Pokey a lot more in 2018.
Next, season the chicken with salt and pepper and do the three-step breading: First, dredge in flour on both sides…
Both sides in the egg mixture…
And finally, coat both sides in the crispy Panko crumbs.
Set them aside for a sec.
Next, time to cook the chicken! Heat 4 tablespoons butter and 4 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Place the chicken in the skillet and brown it on the first side for about 3 to 4 minutes. I move them around to different positions here and there to ensure even browning, and to ensure they don’t burn. Panko can get too brown if you take your eyes off the ball for very long!
Turn them over and do the same on the other side…
Then place them on a rack placed over a sheet pan…
And finish baking them in the oven for about 5 minutes. This allows the chicken to get done in the center without the breading getting too brown.
This is after 5 minutes. Perfect! (You could serve this as is with a salad and/or veggie, or turn it into a sandwich!)
But I’m gonna turn it into a melt by turning the oven to broil and topping the chicken with mozzarella.
A quick note about the cheese! I used fresh mozzarella because I had some on hand and I love the stuff. But I also had “supermarket” mozzarella in slices, and that would be delicious, too. Note that fresh mozzarella like I used above is very watery when it melts, and it does affect the crispy texture of the chicken if it sits too long after the cheese melts. So one advantage to using the pre-sliced supermarket stuff is that it won’t affect the crispiness quite as much.
Both options are fine, just wanted you to be aware!
So just put the mozzarella-covered chicken under the broiler for a couple of minutes, and watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn!
I took a walk on the wild side and made the spinach-tomato topping while the chicken was broiling. Melt a little butter with some olive oil (about a tablespoon of each) in a small skillet over medium-high heat. You want the skillet to be hot…
When you throw in the tomatoes! I did a mix of red grape and yellow cherry, because I love the color combo. But you can go all read iffin ya want.
Sprinkle in some salt and pepper and toss the tomatoes.
You want to cook them for a minute or two until they start to break apart a bit. (You can see that the butter is pretty browned in the pan—that’ll give you some indication of the heat.)
When the tomatoes are very hot, throw in a bunch of baby spinach and minced garlic and remove the pan from the heat.
Then, it’ll go fast: Just stir and toss the spinach until it starts to wilt!
To serve, just pile the spinach/tomato mixture on top of the chicken!
You can see that the spinach is still about half-wilted. I love that, because it still has a little bit of a bite to it.
Oh, baby! What a lovely lunch.
(A crispy English muffin makes a nice little side.)
This is a beaut, friends. Enjoy!