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.
2 chicken cutlets
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
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.
Lightly beat raw eggs in large bowl. Dip chicken cutlets in the egg wash and coat both sides with the nut mixture.
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.
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.
This recipe can be adapted with a variety of spices, herbs and nuts and can also be used with pork cutlets or other meats.