With company coming for dinner, I was looking for a recipe for chicken breasts, preferably one that involved baking in the oven. I didn't want sauces, especially not a tomato sauce. It's still hot and humid here in the afternoon. The last thing anyone wants is a heavy dish with a hot sauce.
In my search, I stumbled over Ted Allen's Baked Chicken Breast with Parmesan Crust on Food Network. Perfect! Flavorful, easy to make, and it bakes in the oven. Not only that, it turned out great. Definitely a keeper. It involves very little preparation time, and bakes in 25 - 30 minutes, which means you can even whip this up after work, and make a quick salad or side dish while it bakes. I served it to company, and honestly, it's pretty enough for guests. It would double easily, too, if you have a larger group.
I changed it up in a few minor ways. He specified dijon mustard, but I used horseradish mustard. I omitted the Kosher salt because Parmesan is so salty anyway. No one even noticed. If you're into cayenne, by all means use it. I used paprika instead, and it worked very well. And finally, I didn't use cooking spray (I never buy it), though I'm quite certain that spritzing it with oil before cooking would make it even crispier.
The recipe calls for 3/4 cup of Panko and 3/4 cup of Parmesan. I had a lot left over that had to be tossed. Next time I'll start with 1/2 cup of each and add more if needed. The original recipe calls for baking the chicken breasts 15 - 20 minutes. My chicken breasts were not gigantic, but I found I had to bake them 25 minutes. They were perfect, but would have been under-cooked if I had taken them out earlier. So make sure they're cooked through.
The verdict? In spite of all my changes, it got a thumbs up from everyone. The mustard and thyme add a lovely layer of flavor under the Parmesan that's the key to making this special. Don't skip the mustard!
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Kosher salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon paprika or cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Panko
Cooking spray (optional)
Set out two plates or bowls. On one plate, combine the mustard, thyme, salt (if using), and paprika. On the other plate, mix the Parmesan and the Panko. Spread the mustard mixture over a chicken breast on both sides. Press into the Parmesan mixture on both sides and lay on the rack. Repeat with the other chicken breasts. If using cooking spray or a mister, spray with oil.
|Two are plain for the pups.|