November 17: Lunchbreak - Nut Crusted Chicken
Chris Kimball

To purchase a copy of the book:

The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

Event:
Tonight
7:00 p.m.
Unity Temple
875 Lake Street
Oak Park

To purchase event tickets:

booktable.net

www.cooksillustrated.com


Nut-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Thyme Serves 4

This recipe is best with almonds, but works well with any type of nut. We prefer kosher salt in this recipe. If using table salt, reduce salt amounts by half.

Ingredients:
4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed, trimmed
Kosher salt
1 cup almonds, chopped coarse
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, zested lemon cut into wedges
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Using fork, poke thickest half of breasts 5 to 6 times and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer breasts to prepared wire rack and refrigerate, uncovered, while preparing coating. Pulse almonds in food processor until they resemble coarse meal, about 20 pulses. Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until butter is browned and releases nutty aroma, 4 to 5 minutes. Add shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add bread crumbs and ground almonds and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer panko mixture to shallow dish or pie plate and stir in lemon zest, thyme, and cayenne. Place flour in second dish. Lightly beat eggs, mustard, and pepper together in third dish. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Working with 1 breast at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then coat with egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Coat all sides of breast with panko mixture, pressing gently so that crumbs adhere. Return breaded breasts to wire rack. Bake until chicken registers 160 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Makes about 16 large cookies

Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is sufficiently browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar, as hardened brown sugar will make the cookies too dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored.

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
1 1/4 cups (7 1/2 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

Directions:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Melt 10 Tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly, until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Add remaining 4 Tablespoons butter and stir until completely melted. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla to melted butter; whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and egg yolk; whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using. Give dough final stir to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed. Working with 3 Tablespoons of dough at a time, roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; let cookies cool to room temperature.