This recipe from is from Nigella’s Kitchen. I pretty much use the original recipe without any changes but as it is not online I thought I would share it.
Despite what you might think from reading this blog I am not the biggest chicken fan. I find it boring and bland. So I am always looking for ways to make chicken interesting and most importantly, to find a way to cook chicken breast without it becoming dry. This recipe is perfect. The breadcrumb coating is so tasty and marinating the chicken in buttermilk makes it really moist. Nigella says it needs to marinade for at least 30 minutes but I think it benefits from much longer. You can start the chicken the day before you plan to eat it by flattening the chicken breasts and putting it in the buttermilk marinade and leave it in the fridge overnight.
When you are heating the oil make sure it is piping hot. If the oil is not hot enough the chicken will not cook as quickly as you want it to and you will find it sticks to the pan and loses some of the coating. Test the oil by dropping some of the breadcrumbs into the oil and if it sizzles immediately the oil is ready. You can also use panko breadcrumbs but this is the one time that I find ordinary breadcrumbs work better.
This recipe is enough for 4 people. There are only 2 of us but I usually make the full amount and use the leftovers in a wrap with some salad the following day. It is lovely served with salad and chips. I am including the side salad that Nigella uses in the book because it goes perfectly with it.
- 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- 300ml buttermilk
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 150g fresh breadcrumbs – I use old bread and whizz it up in a food processor to make the breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp celery salt – less if it is not to your taste
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 40g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Groundnut oil for frying. If you can’t find groundnut use another flavourless oil that can withstand high temperatures. (Olive oil will not work here.)
- Put the chicken between 2 sheets of clingfilm or into a plastic bag, opened out flat. Bash with a rolling pin until they are whole but very thin. Try to make them of even thickness so that they cook evenly.
- The little bit under the fillet may come away, that is fine. Keep them to make extra pieces and just fry for a less amount of time.
- Mix the buttermilk with the Worcestershire sauce. You can do this in a bowl or put it into a freezer bag, which is what I do (less washing up!). Add the chicken to the buttermilk, make sure it is covered and marinate for at least 30 minutes or put it into the fridge overnight.
- Mix the breadcrumbs, celery salt, cayenne pepper, thyme and parmesan in a wide shallow dish.
- Once the chicken is finished marinating, lift it out of the buttermilk, allowing it to drain a bit and then press it into the breadcrumbs. If there is too much buttermilk on the chicken it will not coat properly in the breadcrumbs and will make it difficult to fry properly.
- Coat the fillets on both sides and move to a wire rack until you are ready to fry.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Use enough to cover the pan with 5 mm of oil. Test the oil with breadcrumbs as described above.
- Make sure you don’t crowd the pan, this will cause the temperature to drop and the chicken won’t crisp properly
- Fry the chicken for about 3 minutes each side until you see the breadcrumbs turning a nice golden brown. Don’t be tempted to move the chicken too much as you might knock off some of the coating. If you are frying the smaller bits that may have fallen off they should take about 2 minutes a side.
- When they are cooked remove and drain on some kitchen paper. Keep warm in a low oven if you need to while finishing the rest of the chicken.
TOMATO SIDE SALAD
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- A handful of salad leaves – I like to use a combination that includes rocket and spinach
- 50g of parmesan flaked using a vegetable peeler
- Whisk together the oil and vinegar until they are well incorporated and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the diced tomatoes and mix well.
- When you are ready to serve add the leaves and parmesan and toss everything together.