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Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Mustard Sauce

Yield 4
Nutty sautéed chicken dipped in a creamy mustard sauce delivers nicely varied textures and flavors. Using cornstarch rather than flour makes the crust especially crisp.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Cayenne
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons grainy or Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

How to Make It

  1. In a food processor, pulse the pecans with the cornstarch, thyme, paprika, 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne until the nuts are chopped fine. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.

  2. Whisk together the egg and the water in a small bowl. Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture and then into the nut mixture.

  3. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes longer.

  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, parsley, a pinch of cayenne, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve the chicken with the mustard dipping sauce.

  5. Menu Suggestions: The crisp coating on the chicken invites a creamy potato gratin alongside. Green beans, perhaps sautéed in bacon fat, would taste great, too.

  6. Wine Recommendation: The combination of the sweet pecans and the assertive mustard sauce lends itself to either a crisp sparkling wine or a stainless-steel-fermented sauvignon blanc from California.

Quick From Scratch Chicken