Here is a perfectly serviceable and not wildly time-consuming way to prepare chicken that’s delicious and attractive enough even for a company supper. A bonus is that it was given to me by a very slender person, my neighbor Donna Seymour, who, of course, probably has a dozen ways to prepare boneless, skinless chicken breasts so that they don’t come out as dry as a chip and as boring as a gubernatorial debate. You will not be surprised that my husband’s first comment was that it would be better with skin left on the chicken. Sure it would, but not having the skin on is precisely the point.
This recipe says you can use just about any kind of crumbs you like. I used those famous Panko crumbs, but you can grab any dry bread stuff you have. Donna’s idea of crushed croutons seems good if you have some around, and sometimes they have seasonings added. Generally, I make my own croutons, but you can do whatever you like about this.
Also, I decided to use buttermilk as the dipping medium because it is thicker than plain milk, and has its own tanginess (and because I had some leftover from last week’s soda bread experiments).
Donna also suggested, “Before serving, add olive slice/crossed slivers of sun dried tomato on top of melted cheese, for presentation.” But I’d save that gambit for company.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (can be cut in half for more appealing portion size)
olive oil or milk sufficient to coat the chicken
3/4 cup, more or less, bread-cracker-crushed crouton crumbs
3/4 cup, more or less, grated Parmesan cheese
4-8 teaspoon coarsely shredded Parmesan (for topping)
seasonings to taste (oregano, basil, garlic powder, pepper)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease baking pan with olive oil. Coat chicken with olive oil or milk. Roll in mixture of bread-cracker-crushed crouton crumbs, seasonings and grated Parmesan cheese. Place them in baking dish; sprinkle with paprika. Cover with aluminum foil, bake at 350 F for 40 minutes, remove foil, add 1-2 teaspoons of coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese to each piece of chicken to melt on top and continue baking until cheese is melted and surface of chicken is golden, 5-10 minutes.
Yields four servings.