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Preparing crispy, oven-baked chicken
October 5, 2017, 5:19 pm
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The promise of crispy, juicy, oven-baked chicken is one that every cook wishes to achieve. This method involves coating chicken in breadcrumbs and then frying in hot oil.

While this technique is not quite as simple as shaking chicken with breadcrumbs in a bag, the results are worth the minimal extra effort. Toasted panko breadcrumbs give the chicken a golden, crispy exterior, while a paste of eggs and mayo keeps the chicken juicy.

What you need to know:

  • This recipes calls for four boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but this technique works also on boneless, skinless thighs.
  • The chicken bakes in a 218 degrees Celsius oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

The secret to juicy, quick-cooking chicken: As you know, chicken breast comes in all different shapes and sizes. Pounding the chicken into thin, even pieces is key to keeping this crispy oven chicken juicy while it cooks. If pounding sounds more time-consuming than therapeutic to you, try this: Pound the chicken inside a large zip-top bag. The bag contains all the mess and will not slip and slide under the mallet or rolling pin.

 

The crispy chicken play-by-play:

  • Toast the breadcrumb coating: Toasting the panko breadcrumbs in the oven not only adds flavor and crunch, but also gives the chicken a golden hue. Cover the baking sheet in foil so you can remove the foil after the panko is toasted and use it as a tray for coating the chicken.
  • Pound the chicken: Place each chicken breast inside a large zip-top bag and pound to about a 1/4-inch thickness. You can use the flat side of a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
  • Coat the chicken with egg and mayonnaise: An egg coating is pretty traditional, but combining the egg with mayonnaise helps the coating stick to the chicken and stay moist in the oven.
  • Bake the chicken on a wire rack: This is the secret step that makes baking the chicken even faster and juicier. Elevate the chicken on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet to create airflow and circulation to efficiently cook it.
  • Serving: When serving, you can dress up the chicken with a delicious dressing of your choice and pair it with a salad. Or, you can chop into pieces and add to salads and pasta.

 

Recipe

Crispy, oven-baked chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 cups panko breadcrumbs or saltine cracker crumbs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast

Equipment
Measuring cups and spoons
Knife and cutting board
Large zip-top bag
Meat mallet or rolling pin
Aluminum foil
Rimmed baking sheet
Wire rack
Mixing bowls
Paper towel

Instructions

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 218 degrees Celsius. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Spread the panko or cracker crumbs out onto the baking sheet, add the oil, and toss to coat. Toast, stirring halfway through, three to four minutes; set aside to cool.

Place the egg, mayonnaise, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until smooth; set aside.

Working with one chicken breast at a time, place inside a large zip-top bag and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Set the flattened chicken breast aside and repeat with remaining breasts.

Pat the chicken dry on both sides with paper towels. This is just a little extra insurance that the coating will stick well.

Transfer the chicken to the egg mixture and toss with tongs until well coated; set aside.

Move the foil with the panko on it off of the baking sheet. Fit a wire rack into this baking sheet.

Working with one piece of chicken at a time, press the chicken into the panko on all sides. Move the coated chicken to the wire rack. You may have leftover breadcrumbs.

Bake until the chicken is cooked through and golden-crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.

 

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