Lorraine Wallace's Sesame Chicken\u00a0

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[Photograph: Alexandra Grablewski]

Chicken breasts are one of those go-to dinner making essentials that most folks have stocked in the fridge or freezer for those nights that raise the question, "What's for dinner?" This Sesame Chicken from Lorraine Wallace's Mr. Sunday's Saturday Night Chicken takes a classic weeknight dinner dish and gives it a welcome twist. Wallace briefly marinates the breasts in buttermilk, adding a slight tang and warding off any dryness. Seasoned with herbs de Provence and coated in a blend of panko and sesame, the chicken is baked through, getting basted a few times along the way with butter for added richness. Served alongside some wilted spinach, it's a meal that comes together in just about half an hour, which is often exactly what weeknight eating calls for.

What Worked: Chicken breast have a tendency to be, well, blah. Adding a tart buttermilk soak, fragrant herbs de Provence, and crunchy, butter crust serves them well.

What Didn't: Cooking times were a little off; our sesame chicken took an extra five minutes to brown up nicely.

Suggested Tweaks: Crunchy panko mixed with nutty sesame seeds makes for a great breading. Perhaps next time we'll switch out the herbs de Provence for some smoked paprika.

Reprinted with permission from Mr. Sunday's Saturday Night Chicken by Lorraine Wallace. Copyright © 2012. Published by Wiley. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

Lorraine Wallace's Sesame Chicken 

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 2
Active time:15 minutes
Total time:30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup plain sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Procedures

  1. 1

    Rinse the chicken breasts with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Put the chicken breasts on a plate large enough to hold them, and season with salt and pepper and the herbes de Provence.

  2. 2

    Transfer the chicken breasts to a medium bowl and pour the buttermilk on top. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.

  3. 3

    Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

  4. 4

    In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, toasted sesame seeds, and parsley.

  5. 5

    Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess. One at a time, dredge the chicken breasts in the bread crumb–sesame seed mixture, coating each piece well. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Discard the marinade.

  6. 6

    Bake the chicken for about 10 minutes. Baste with the melted butter and continue baking until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

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