Our chopped challenge this week was hazelnuts. While they're most often used in desserts such as pralines, baked goods and hazelnut chocolate spread, we wanted to highlight their rich buttery flavor in a savory dish paired with breaded chicken and romaine. Chopped Basket Challenge: Hazelnuts
- Four 6 to 8 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/4 cup hazelnuts
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 romaine hearts, chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, cut on a bias
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the chicken on a work surface and pound it into 3/4-inch thickness with a meat pounder. Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Set aside 3 tablespoon of the hazelnuts, and combine the rest with the panko, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Season the chicken with a pinch each salt and pepper. Beat the eggs together with 1/2 teaspoon salt then dip each chicken, letting excess drip off. Dredge the chicken in the nut mixture. Heat 11/2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot, then add chicken, 2 at a time and brown, turning once, about 2 minutes per side. Brown remaining chicken with the same amount of oil for each batch, wiping out the skillet as necessary. Place chicken on a baking sheet and finish cooking in oven, about 6 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, whisk together the honey, lemon juice, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Slowly stream the olive oil into the dressing while whisking. Once creamy and smooth, stir in the reserved 3 tablespoons of hazelnuts. Toss together the dressing with the romaine hearts, tomatoes, and scallions. Serve with the chicken.