Schnitzel is a beloved main dish brought to Israel by Austrian immigrants, and the addition of za'atar (a popular Middle Eastern spice blend of sesame seeds mixed with powdered sumac and dried thyme) lends it Mediterranean flair. Buy za'atar at ethnic markets or specialty spice stores, or make your own using our recipe for Za'atar (at CookingLight.com). Sautéing the chicken in olive oil is a nod to the custom of eating foods cooked in oil to commemorate the Hanukkah miracle in 165 B.C., when a day's worth of olive oil lit the menorah for eight days after the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple of Jerusalem.
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup za'atar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
8 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges (optional)
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine panko, za'atar, sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish. Place eggs and egg white in another shallow dish; lightly beat with a fork. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Dredge 4 breast halves in panko mixture, then egg mixture. Dredge again in panko mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 coated chicken breast halves to pan. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned, turning carefully with a spatula. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken, panko mixture, egg mixture, and oil.
Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until done. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.