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Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Late Summer Fruit Salad

Serves 4

Kevin Masse New York City
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Let me start with a confession - I have mastered the art of getting stuck in the weeknight dinner rut.  I find myself at the grocery store and it feels like Groundhog Day, loading my cart with the same ingredients over, and over, and over.  It is so much easier to keep making those old standbys.  They require little effort after a long day, and you know you’ll be happy with the final result.  Well, I am going to try to work my way out of the rut, and challenge myself, at least once a week, to make something new - using #feedfeed community as a place of inspiration - because, honestly, I find inspiration from everyone here, everyday.

 

Summer is slowly starting to dwindle, and while tomatoes are ripe off the vine, we’re also starting to see the fruits of late summer arrive.  Figs bursting with juicy goodness and nectarines so heavy, you fear explosion, should one hit the floor.  This salad makes the perfect complement to the crunchy, peppery chicken.  With a salty bite from feta and a bright note from the squeeze of a lime, it is the perfect mid-week easy side.

 

Using potato chips and or pretzels to coat chicken is hardly an original recipe - but a post by Heidi Larson inspired me to venture out into this realm.  Unfortunately, I did not have potato chips on hand, so I used crushed pretzels.  Cutting the breasts in half, lengthwise, and pounding them thin is the trick to getting them to cook evenly and quickly.  Served with a punchy pepper jelly mustard, this chicken is anything but run of the mill.   

 

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Ingredients:

 

For the Salad

1 cup ripe mission figs quartered

2 ripe nectarines, sliced

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

1 oz crumbled feta

Juice of one lime

Olive Oil

Basil

 

For the Chicken:

1 pound chicken (2 breasts) cut lengthwise in half and pounded thin

2 cups salted pretzels

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Salt and Pepper

Canola oil for brushing

 

For the mustard sauce:

½ cup hot pepper jelly or mango chutney

1-2 teaspoon strong dijon mustard

1 teaspoon water

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

 

To make the salad, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  While the water comes to a boil, scatter the figs and nectarines on a serving platter.  Quickly blanch the red onions in the boiling water for about 15 seconds, drain and pat dry.  Scatter the onions over the fruit along with the feta.  Squeeze the juice of one lime over the salad and drizzle with olive oil.  Scatter basil leaves just before serving.  Set aside while you make the chicken.

 

Line a half sheet pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and inset with a cooling rack.

 

Using a rolling pin, or other heavy object, crush the pretzels in a large zip lock bag & transfer to a shallow baking dish

 

In a separate shallow baking dish, lightly beat the 2 large eggs.  Season both sides of the chicken with ¼ tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper.  Working one breast at a time, dip in the egg and then coat with crushed pretzels.  Transfer chicken to prepared sheet pan & gently brush the tops of chicken lightly with oil.

 

Bake for 20 minutes, reducing heat to 375 degrees after 10 minutes.

 

While chicken cooks, prepare the sauce by mixing mustard, jelly and water in a small dish. Serve chicken with the fruit salad and a big dollop of sauce!

 

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