Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
19 Jun

Crispy Nut and Herb Fried Chicken with Creamy Avocado

cookedchicken2 1Over the last few weeks as chicken recipes have come pouring in for the Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook contest, we’ve boiled chicken, grilled chicken, baked chicken and now, finally, we’re frying chicken. Jeanne Chun supplied the recipe for the crispy coating, a simple mixture of nuts and herbs that cooks up into a richly flavorful, finger-lickin’ good version of fried chicken.

Jeanne blends several types of nuts together with herbs for her chicken coating, which yields a richly flavored crust. For a more specific flavor, choose one type of nut to pair with the fresh herb of your choice. A crust of pecans and parsley is sure to please any crowd, with its mild and familiar flavor. Walnuts have a bolder flavor and won’t be overpowered by a generous handful of minced basil. Almonds and dill are a combination we’ll come back to repeatedly, for the extra-crispy texture of the ground almonds and the way the dill retains it’s flavor. For a change of pace, however, macadamia and tarragon is a favorite combination, sweeter than the others with a buttery, rich texture.

Once you decide which combination of nuts and herbs to use, the only challenge left is making sure the chicken is cooked through before the outer coating of nuts burns. The aroma of lightly toasted nuts is a beautiful thing; the rancid smell of burning nuts is not. You can avoid this by pounding the cutlets so they are quite thin or by frying the chicken until the nuts are nicely browned, then finish the cutlets in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for ten minutes or so.

A coating of nuts fried in oil gives a skinless piece of meat like chicken cutlet the fatty richness that’s missing. Plus, the extra protein from the nuts is so satisfying that you’ll find yourself getting full without overeating. This means there might be leftovers, which is a lucky predicament that’s easily taken care of… Jeanne’s fried chicken just happens to be fantastic over salad the next day.

Ingredients:

ingredients 36

  • 2 chicken cutlets
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups raw, unsalted nuts of your choice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped herbs of your choice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cooking oil of your choice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Finely grind nuts in food processor, but don’t grind them so long that they turn into paste. Combine the ground nuts with the chopped herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

nutsandherbs 1 groundnuts 1

Lightly beat raw eggs in large bowl.  Dip chicken cutlets in the egg wash and coat both sides with the nut mixture.

coatingandeggwash 1

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Place chicken in skillet and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, about five minutes a side.

fryingchicken 1

Top with avocado slices before serving.

If you’re increasing this recipe and cooking several batches of cutlets, change the oil halfway through so it doesn’t become dark and have a burnt flavor.

Variations:

This recipe can be adapted with a variety of spices, herbs and nuts and can also be used with pork cutlets or other meats.

cookedchicken1

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Oh, yum. Thanks for this. I’m coming out of lurkerdom for this one. I have celiac disease and am always searching for good safe recipes. I’ve done a similar coating for baked fish (ground almonds, Italian herbs, fresh grated parmesan) but never thought to try it on fried chicken! This is going on next week’s dinner menu.

    i-geek wrote on June 19th, 2010
    • I am getting tested for celiac by eliminating gluten from my diet. It’s been a few months and it’s great except for the fact that I am always constipated now. I have been following the primal blueprint and I don’t know waht to do about staying regular,any help?

      mandi wrote on September 20th, 2010
      • You’re better off asking in the forums.

        That being said, eat more fiber. Load up on lettuces, and eat more fibrous fruit like apples, mangoes, berries, kiwis, etc.

        http://www.fitsugar.com/How-Much-Fiber-Fruit-209893
        http://thyroid.about.com/od/loseweightsuccessfully/a/highfiber.htm

        Mark Rose wrote on September 20th, 2010
        • Thank you very much,I had no clue there was any forum,I’m new to the website. I’ll try that indeed,thank you again.

          mandi wrote on September 21st, 2010
      • I had the same problem and went off dairy. What a change! All was better within literally one day. And I feel great!

        Claire wrote on October 5th, 2014
  2. I have used ground pork rinds sucessfully. This looks even better!

    Dusty wrote on June 19th, 2010
  3. Oh wow it looks delish! I love this idea. I too never thought of adding nuts & herbs for the crispy coating. Good one Mark & Thanks Jeanne ;-)

    Madeline wrote on June 19th, 2010
  4. Nut crusts are truly classic, “Almondine” is a traditional French preparation of fish or chicken with almonds, white wine, and herbs.

    Personally those nut & herb combos sound great, but one that might be good also is a more tropical themed cashew, dried coconut, and lemongrass.

    Mmmm….

    Allen wrote on June 19th, 2010
  5. This looks soooo yummy! Guess what I am eating tomorrow! haha

    Carla wrote on June 19th, 2010
  6. Will certianly be trying this!! And pondering the possibilities of cube steak!

    Spinner wrote on June 19th, 2010
  7. mmm looks delicious

    Jean-Patrick wrote on June 19th, 2010
  8. Glad to see this. I’ve done something very similar on both chicken and pork chops.

    A combination of almond meal, coconut flour, parmesan & seasonings is sensational on meat cutlets fried in lard.

    …Actually, just about anything is good fried in lard.

    taihuibabe wrote on June 19th, 2010
  9. Damn, I love the food combination in this dish. The avocado topping tops it off nicely. Now I just need to actually take the time to make one of these recipes!

    Primal Toad wrote on June 19th, 2010
  10. Thank you for the nut and herb blends. I did the walnut/basil on swordfish steaks for dinner tonight and it was great.

    Vick wrote on June 19th, 2010
  11. This is an answer to my prayers. My wife loves traditional crusty chicken, yet I don’t want to use the traditional methods of preparing the meal…I am the cook so this is on the menu for next time we have chicken.

    Karl MacPhee wrote on June 19th, 2010
  12. This looks fantastic – shall try it this week.

    andrew wrote on June 20th, 2010
  13. Dear Mark,
    What I do not understand is why you are preaching a “primal” diet and are considering eating chicken, beef and pork a valid part of the diet, these animals are not natural.. they have been hybridized over thousands of years by humans to be used in agriculture, it is strange that we only really eat 3 main land animals that we have selectively breaded…i believe that these animal affect our genetic blue print because their own genetic code has been compromised and manipulated by humans, i would like to see more of a movement to replace chicken with smaller birds like quail, grouse and turkey, replace beef with bison. And there are so many farms out there that are using elk and wild boar.
    I just find is very silly to say you are eating a primal diet and considering these animals “natural” and what the cave men use to eat.

    frances wrote on June 20th, 2010
    • Mmm…the trolls have been working on their camouflage these days.

      In all seriousness though, Frances, the idea with the Primal LIFESTYLE (not diet) is to emulate the metabolism, not the exact diet of prehistoric man. Of course, cavemen didn’t have access to protein shakes either, but Mark gives the go-ahead for the occasional one because it works with a Primal body.

      In terms of breeding, you’ll notice Mark EXTENSIVELY supports pasture-raised chickens, grass-fed beef, pastured pork, etc…Animals raised in an environment that is as close to wild as possible.

      Bret M. wrote on June 21st, 2010
  14. Frances, Would like to point out that unless you catch it or gather it from the wild today, just about anything you put down your gullet has been manipulated by us humans for thousands of years. Have the nutrients and biochemistry of the animals that we eat today changed from the cave man days…of course they have, but if you’re eating good clean organic free range meats it’s as close as you’re going to get to the wild stuff. There simply aren’t enough wild animals to support the earth’s population today. In essence, take it easy and maybe not take things so literally.

    Respectfully,
    Tyler

    Tyler Holt wrote on June 20th, 2010
  15. I think I need to get a food processor so I can enjoy nuts in other ways then just whole. Wish I could try this this week but it’s gonna be a while before I can afford to buy a food processor so… just gotta wait and be patient. Unless someone has any other create ways to grind nuts other then using a food processor that could be done with normal kitchen gadgets.

    Venna wrote on June 20th, 2010
    • you could get a cheap (relatively) 30$ coffee grinder for the nuts. It grinds whole pepper in an amazing way also.

      ang wrote on June 23rd, 2010
    • A coffee grinder is fine, they are about $30 in Australia….
      Try that Or just a blender works fine….You don’t have to go fancey schmancy….Let me know how you go?
      XX
      Paddle

      Paddy wrote on July 14th, 2010
    • A mortar and pestle work fantastic,I used it last night to make the walnut/basil crust for the chicken.

      mandi wrote on September 21st, 2010
  16. Venna,

    May not be quite as easy as a food processor but a blender will do the trick in a pinch!

    Happy Groking

    -Tyler

    Tyler wrote on June 20th, 2010
  17. You can also just put the nuts in a bag or between wax paper and smash them with something heavy for a while. Not perfect but fun and good enough.

    Tom wrote on June 21st, 2010
  18. A good mortar and pestle is always good to have around, and it certainly gives you a good workout for your meal :). There is much satisfaction relying on old methods in cooking, but having a good food processor on hand is a modern kitchen must! There is a blender out there called a Vita-Mix that supposedly has the power to pulverize an avocado seed to a fine powder, so some hard-core primal followers who want to squeeze every nutrient they can into their diet may want to make the investment, especially in concern for small children (although, be careful what you’re trying to incorporate).

    When I was younger, we raised chickens for eggs (and occasionaly meat), goats for milk, and New Zealand rabbits for meat. I have found that unless you are raising it yourself or inspect the farmer’s livestock arrangements before purchasing, “free range” on a meat pachage is hardly a guarantee. I have found that the real difference between regular and “free range” chickens you get at the grocery store is 18 inches of extra space in their cage. Of course, you are all aware that pairing this with a restricted diet of corn that comes from God knows where and lack of exercise, sunlight, and social interaction results in objectionable meats for our consumption, though unacknowledged by the average person. I can personally testify that there is a large difference in taste and quality of the eggs and meat in our chickens as compared to those at the local grocery store. Unfortunately, even despoite the difference in lifestyle, on ecould still observe the difference in instinct compared to much older generations of farm-raised chickens. There was still no maternal instinct, no desire to hatch or care for eggs and spawn future generations. This is hardly an argument here or there, but an observation.

    If one takes the time to visit their local farmer’s market (I’m sure you’ll find there are several in your area) you may come accross all kinds of opportunities for ideal meats, veggies, fruits, and other products. I know one in Durham, NC is frequented by a farmer of bison and is very successful selling his meat there. You will also found that at least the majority of these farmers are very willing to share their processes and some even welcome visitors to their farms (certainly not all, but you never know until you ask). Taking the time to explore is very rewarding, especially long-term, and you can build relationships with honest farmers and give back into a worthy area of our economy and your health!

    Susu wrote on June 21st, 2010
  19. We make nut crust “Chicken Fingers” at home all the time. The kids love them and even my teenagers don’t complain that they’re “healthy”!
    My go-to crust is almond meal, parmesan, lemon pepper, garlic, and salt. I dip the cutlets in melted butter, then bake them at 375 on a wire rack (lets both sides cook evenly without having to flip them).

    I’ve also done macadamia and coconut crusts with salt and pepper, sauteed in coconut oil. GREAT on fish with some pineapple salsa..
    Mmm.. getting hungry just typing this!

    Tray wrote on June 21st, 2010
  20. This looks really good! Though my options for chicken have been limited by the fact that I only buy local pastured whole chickens now. I’m not so great at cutting them apart raw, so I cook them whole. Maybe I could practice some butchering techniques so I can make more recipes like this, huh?

    Tara wrote on June 21st, 2010
    • It’s really pretty easy to take apart a whole chicken, and it saves lots of money vs. buying parts. I’ve got it down to about 5 minutes, though I’m sure someone who does it more often can beat that time easily. There are good YouTube videos that can guide you through the process.

      IthacaNancy wrote on August 26th, 2014
  21. 4 CUPS OF NUTS for two chicken cutlets?? Is this a misprint?

    David wrote on June 21st, 2010
    • I don’t think it’s a misprint, but I used one cup of raw almonds, and it was more than enough for two cutlets. I think what might have been meant was four cups of GROUND (or chopped) nuts. I could be wrong. :]

      Tarek wrote on June 29th, 2010
    • I wondered the same thing myself,maybe it meant two packages of chicken cutlets? One cup of whole nuts and then ground works fine for two breasts. Then I used a quarter cup of dried herbs with it.

      mandi wrote on September 21st, 2010
  22. Oh YUMMMMMMMMM!

    Peachy wrote on June 21st, 2010
  23. MMMMMMMMM!!

    Best chicken I’ve ever made! For two chicken breasts, I used three eggs (should have used two), 2/3 cup of almonds before being diced in a blender, dill, and fried on medium-low heat in extra virgin olive oil.

    I paired it with lots of steamed asparagus and some gouda cheese I had kicking around. Delicious!

    Mark Rose wrote on June 21st, 2010
  24. This recipe looks great! We are a gluten-free family, and this recipe is perfect (and perfectly normal food that a teen would eat anyhow). Thanks!

    Kit wrote on June 23rd, 2010
  25. Just tried this tonight!! mmmmmmm delicious…thinking re mixing it with some coriander and a splash of chilli powder for a texmex theme or coriander and curry powder for indian!

    Chris wrote on June 26th, 2010
  26. Holy Cow! that was GREAT! I just got home from working out & needed to make some lunch. I remembered seeing this recipe and had a package of thinly sliced chicken breast, a package of pecans & almonds, some dried italian seasoning & paprika. I lightly cooked one of the breasts in olive oil on the stove to brown & popped it into a 400deg oven for 10 minutes make sure it was cooked through. WOW, the flavor of the nuts with a little kick from paprika, AWESOME! Thanks for the recipe (now I can go shower :-))

    Leaz wrote on June 30th, 2010
  27. Just about everything that could go wrong with the recipe did: Cutlets too thick, coating too pasty, slightly burnt coating.

    However, after throwing them in the oven for 10 minutes, the end result is pretty good. Very succulent, and the coating turned out OK.

    I would say definitely watch the width of your cutlets and maybe don’t use the macadamia/tarragon pairing. Although this combination is delicious, it turned out too pasty to stick to the chicken.

    Will definitely try again.

    lebowski wrote on June 30th, 2010
  28. I used a medley of brazil nuts, almonds, pecans, cashews and hazel nuts.

    Then I made some Jicama Fries.

    And Then spread some tomato paste for a “fried chicken and french fries with ketchup fast food” meal

    Great recipe

    Clack_Attack wrote on June 30th, 2010
  29. could someone let me know what the cup measurement is? I am French and I have never used cups before.
    Is it a volume or weight ?
    When I tried this recipe with 4 cups of nuts and I probably had enough for 6 or 8 chicken breasts instead of 2.
    Thanks

    nico wrote on July 25th, 2010
    • It’s a volume measurement. Roughly equivalent to 330 ml if my math holds up…

      Hope this helps,

      Steve

      Steve Gunn wrote on July 25th, 2010
      • It’s about 230 ml according to google :)

        Other than that I will definitely be trying this tonight!

        Joseph wrote on August 9th, 2010
    • Sonia wrote on September 20th, 2010
  30. Hi Mark,
    Did you really use all four eggs and four cups of almonds for 2 cutlets? I make this kind of recipe a lot with boneless chicken thighs and 1 egg goes a long way. I also use about 1 1/2 cups of ground nuts to about 1 lb of chicken.

    If I’m using chicken breasts, I make sure I pound the heck out of it first, otherwise it tends to get burned before it gets cooked through. I like using the boneless chicken thighs for this reason – they are thin and they they stay very moist and tender.

    I love your picture and also love adding avocado to the chicken.
    Yummy!
    thanks!

    Sarah Schatz wrote on July 26th, 2010
  31. I made this with almonds, garlic, basil, and rosemary and cooked it with olive oil. It was amazing. Though I wouldn’t recommend using a fresh garlic like I did, for the ground up almond will then start sticking together. Also I probably only needed one egg for the chicken breasts (2 of them). And I also learned that they should have been cooked on level 3, and not 6 like I did – the almonds started burning. I think if you cook on an extremely low level, though, you probably won’t need to pound the breasts.

    The only thing that didn’t work out, was that about 25% of the almond meal didn’t stick all that well to the chicken as it was cooking. Is the solution here to cook with another oil/fat?

    Brian Kozmo wrote on September 10th, 2010
  32. I LOVE this recipe, by far one of my family’s favorite primal fares. We are currently trying baking them in place of frying. The frying is yummy and healthy, but takes SOOOO much time. Hopefully it will work. Thanks so much.

    ElizaGrok wrote on November 29th, 2010
  33. Just made this and it was great and smelled amazing! I used boneless skinless chicken thighs with an almond and dill crust; fried in extra virgin first cold-pressed olive oil. I only used two eggs though for my egg wash because I misread the recipe but it did not seem to make a difference.

    LaurenKM wrote on December 26th, 2010
  34. After research just a few of the weblog posts on your web site now, and I really like your means of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website checklist and can be checking back soon. Pls check out my website online as nicely and let me know what you think.

    sex shops wrote on September 12th, 2011
  35. Holy smokes!

    Literally just polished this off after seeing the recipe a while back…by far the tastiest paleo home cooked meal I’ve made in years.

    I used a mix of almonds (60%), cashews (30%) and fresh basil (10%) and cooked on a medium heat. Won’t be the last time I try this one, absolute cracker!

    Graeme Downie wrote on September 30th, 2011
  36. done this heaps now. its the SHIZ!!

    Yasmin wrote on January 21st, 2012
  37. Yes, the proportions are way off here. I was able to cook 9 pieces of chicken using this amount of eggs and nuts.

    One problem I had though was that the nuts don’t want to stick to the chicken. Even after cooking and sitting overnight, once you start eating it, you end up with a plate full of nuts as a side dish. Is there something that can be used as a flour substitute, which is normally used to get this sort of a batter and coating to stick?

    ryesteve wrote on May 2nd, 2012
  38. Just done this and I have to say that it was simply amazing.
    We ate it with a side dish of grilled mushrooms and cauliflower.
    Absolutely stunning!
    Thank you for this awesome recipe.

    Ioana wrote on June 20th, 2012
  39. I am only new to this site. And the whole primal way of eating and concepts are doing my head in. However these recipes certainly encourage me to give this lifestyle a go. Excellent feed back and support to help beginners out like me. Be great to get exact measurements too. I am certainly going to be using these nut based crusts instead of breadcrumbs. Keep up the good work

    Jane wrote on July 24th, 2012
  40. Think this could be baked with a spray coat of olive oil? My oil use is very limited these days because I am preparing for a competition but I’d love to give this a shot! Let me know what you think.

    Danielle wrote on March 7th, 2013

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!