Tag Archives: panko

Crispy Chicken w/ Avocado-Berry Salsa


Its strawberry season here in Belgium and I’m loving it. Thanks to globalization it is now possible to find fresh strawberries year around but nothing tastes better than a fresh local berry. Belgian strawberries are slightly smaller than their imported counterparts and when ripe, are a deeper red color. They are also sweeter. I buy them every chance I can get and they are so good it is hard to make it home with them. But when I do, I try to incorporate them into as many dishes as I can.

This fruit salsa is refreshing and flavorful and is the perfect topping for cripsy panko coated chicken breasts. Of course the strawberries play a leading role in the salsa but I’ve also added avocado, blueberries and pineapple to the mix. Be sure that your avocado is ripe and use whatever fresh fruits you have available. The jalapeno and the cilantro add a bit of heat and spice to the sweetness of the fruits. Regular breadcrumbs may be substituted for the panko but using the later will result in crispier chicken.


1 ripe avocado, diced

1 cup strawberries, diced

3/4 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced

Juice of 1 lime

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1/4 cup cilantro, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oll, divided

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

1/4 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

1 cup panko crumbs

  • To make the salsa, combined the avocado, fruits, lime juice, jalapeno and cilantro in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle with the salt, toss well and allow to sit while you make the chicken.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Place the seasoned flour in a shallow dish, the egg mixture in another dish and the panko crumbs in a third dish.
  • Dredge the chicken first in the flour mixture followed by the egg mixture and finally the panko crumbs, ensuring that all sides of the chicken are covered with all of the mixtures.
  • Place two of the chicken breasts in the hot skillet and saute until crispy and browned, about 4 minutes.
  • Flip the chicken over and cook for an addition 3 to 4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. The length of cooking time will depend upon the thickness of the breasts.
  • Add the remaining oil to the skillet and once it is hot, cook the remaining chicken breasts.
  • Serve immediately topped with the avocado-berry salsa.

Serves 4

Crunchy Lemonade Drumsticks

photo 2-262

These tasty chicken drumsticks from The Noble Pig take some advanced planning and are a bit messy to make (envision hands covered in mayonnaise) but they are so worth the effort. The chicken marinates overnight in a buttermilk and lemon juice mixture ensuring that the chicken is super moist and flavorful. When combined with the crunchy panko and lemon zest coating this chicken is phenomenal. Yum.


3 tablespoons grated lemon zest, divided

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/3 cup buttermilk

4 pounds skin on chicken drumsticks

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 teaspoons dried thyme

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use Miracle Whip)

  • Combine 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and the lemon juice in a large resealable plastic container.
  • Add 1 cup of water and the brown sugar and whisk to dissolve then add in the buttermilk.
  • Pierce the chicken drumsticks all over with a fork then submerge them in the buttermilk mixture.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place the panko, thyme, 2 tablespoons of lemon zest, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large plastic Ziploc bag and shake to mix.
  • Place the mayonnaise in a small bowl.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and slather the mayonnaise on the chicken then add to the panko filled bag. You may need to do this is batches.
  • Thoroughly coat the chicken with the panko crumbs then place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Flip over and bake until browned and crisp, an additional 35 to 40 minutes.

Serves 8


Chicken Avocado BLT Salad


Here is a substantial salad idea from Cooking Light magazine that is a dinner entrée unto itself. It is essentially a deconstructed bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich and the recipe is more of a suggested method rather than set in stone instructions. The addition of chicken and avocado make it more satisfying with or without a side of bread. (I served the salads with slices of hot garlic bread). Not only is this salad easy to make it is easy to customize dinner to meet everyone’s culinary preferences. The chicken can be served hot or cold; you could use leftover rotisserie chicken. You can also add additional toppings to make it your own; Kalamata olives or even cucumber chips would also be nice. The herbed buttermilk dressing is a nice touch but you can use other herbs depending on your likes and what you have on hand. It is really that easy.

If you want to be particularly decadent, when cooking the chicken omit the olive oil and use 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings to pan sear the chicken breasts before placing them in the oven. Cooking Light most definitely wouldn’t approve but this cook certainly does.


1 cup buttermilk, divided

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

3/4 cup panko crumbs

4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 head iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into 6 wedges

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into slices

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

3 ounces crumbled blue cheese

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Combine 1/2 cup of the buttermilk and the egg white in a shallow dish. Place the panko crumbs in a separate shallow dish.
  • Dip the chicken into the egg white mixture then dredge in panko.
  • Sprinkle the chicken breasts with half of the salt and half of the pepper.
  • Heat a ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat.
  • Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 4 minutes per side.
  • Move the skillet to the oven and bake for 14 minutes or until done.
  • Let the chicken stand for 10 minute then slice crosswise.
  • Combine the remaining buttermilk, the remaining pepper, mayonnaise, dill and vinegar in a small bowl.
  • Place the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with the remaining salt. Chop the garlic until a paste forms, scraping with the flat side of a knife to mash it into a paste. Add to the dressing and stir well to combine.
  • Place the lettuce wedges on 6 plates. Evenly divide the chicken, avocado, and tomatoes over the top of each piece of lettuce. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the blue cheese and crumbled bacon.

Serves 6


Japanese Fried Chicken


It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This recipe comes from Cuisine at Home magazine but I’ve adapted to the ingredients I have on hand.  I’ve substituted Chinese rice wine for the mirin called for the in the original recipe and in order to save time I’ve used chicken breast filets instead of buying whole chicken breasts and slicing and pounding them.  If you can’t find filets just buy whole chicken breasts and slice them in half then use a meat mallet to ensure they are of an even thickness. The panko gives the chicken a crunch that holds up to the sauce.  I like to serve the chicken over a bed of rice and use whatever kind I have on hand.  The results?  Every bit of dinner gets eaten.  Now that’s a great way to end a long week.


For the sauce:

2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups sliced onion

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup Chinese rice wine

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Black pepper to taste

  • Simmer the broth, onion, soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, sesame oil, and pepper flakes in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium-low heat.
  • Cook until the onions are soft, approximately 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and black pepper and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

For the chicken:

8 thin chicken breast filets or 2 whole chicken breasts sliced in half and pounded thin

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 eggs

1 tablespoon water

2 cups panko bread crumbs

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

  • Combine the flour, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a shallow dish.
  • Whisk the eggs and water together in a second shallow dish.
  • Place the panko bread crumbs in a third shallow dish.
  • Coat the cutlets on both sides with the flour mixture then dip in the egg mixture.  All the excess egg to drip off of the chicken.
  • Place the chicken in the dish with the panko crumbs and coat thoroughly.
  • Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Fry the cutlets in two batches, adding more oil as needed, until thoroughly cooked on both sides, adjusting the heat as necessary.
  • Slice the cutlets into strips and serve over a bed of rice with the soy-onion sauce.

Serves:  4

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