Last week, I wanted to make the buttermilk chicken recipe of Samin Nosrat from her book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, but I didn't feel like getting my hands dirty cleaning and trimming a whole chicken (sorry, chicken, you can continue freezing in there until I am ready to cut you up), and reserving the wingtips for stock. So I took the easier, and lazier, route and just thawed out pre-cut chicken thighs in the refrigerator, and mixed up a few things.
There were a few pieces of leftover slices from the no-knead bread I had made again, but using homemade starter instead of yeast. So I zapped them into the food processor for homemade panko. You can also use a blender to make bread crumbs: zap it on medium-high speed for about 20 seconds, and pulse for another 10 counts, or until the bread crumbs are to your liking.
Since I didn't have buttermilk to bathe the chicken, I made my own marinade of one egg yolk, one large egg, one tablespoon of white wine vinegar, lemon juice and half a cup of canola oil. If you have mayonnaise, use this for the chicken marinade and skip the last four ingredients. If not, measure a cup of whole milk in your refrigerator, sprinkle a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the whole milk, and ta-dah, instant buttermilk (You can also refer to my Fluffy Giant Pancakes recipe for more buttermilk inspo).
The marinade should coat about two kilograms of chicken cutlets -- get the ones with skin, so that the marinade adheres to it more instead of sliding off. Also, who doesn't like crisp chicken skin? Don't lie! You can also make the marinade and coat the chicken a day or two ahead, and just refrigerate the chicken in resealable bags, until you're ready to cook them.
I toasted the panko with parmesan gratings on a cast iron pan, with a tablespoon of olive oil, to combine them and give them a crisp coating for the chicken, then popped the coated chicken in the oven to bake for 11 minutes. The result was way more than I expected: crisp katsu-like chicken with tender, moist, fragrant meat. This baked parmesan crusted chicken can be part of a meal or even as a snack, and is a surefire hit at the table.
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 lemon slice, squeezed
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 kilogram chicken thighs, breast or a mix, preferably with skin on
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1. The night before cooking, rub the chicken in salt and leave for 20 minutes. Whisk milk and lemon juice in a large bowl, and dunk chicken in to coat. Transfer chicken to a large leak-proof resealable bag, or two clean plastic bags tied tightly. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.
2. The next day, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add bread crumbs to toast, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it becomes golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in parmesan and coat for a minute or two.
3. Take out chicken from the fridge. Beat an egg and coat it with the chicken. Using tongs, place a cutlet from the bowl to the skillet. Pat surrounding toasted bread crumbs and parmesan onto cutlet, pressing firmly. Turn and repeat on the other side with more breadcrumbs. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cutlets, spacing evenly apart on baking sheet. If there are any parmesan crumbs left from the skillet, scatter them on top of the chicken cutlets.
Mix the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese together once heat has been turned off.
4. Heat oven to 230 degrees Celsius and bake chicken for 10 to 12 minutes, until cooked through and juices run clear when pierced with a knife. You can also bake chicken one at a time using a toaster oven at the highest heat, between 12–15 minutes.
Gorgeous tender chicken meat encased in golden crispy flakes of parmesan and panko