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Pecan-Crusted Calypso Chicken Breasts

MyCookbook Recipe Database
MyCookbook Member: MMMMiami
Recipe Category: Poultry
Recipe Preparation Level: moderate
    This recipe is from MMMMiami--Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere by Carole Kotkin and Kathy Martin, Henry Holt

    (4 servings)
    The crunch of pecans, the bite of Jerk Seasoning and the sweet heat of Pickapeppa Sauce make this a lively centerpiece for a casual,
    island-inspired meal, with Grilled Pineapple and Avocado Salsa, Caribbean Rice, and a tossed salad on the side.
    Pickapeppa, a tomato-based Jamaican condiment spiked with cane vinegar, mangoes, raisins, tamarind, and hot spices, is widely sold in U.S. supermarkets and specialty stores. (Look for the brown bottle with the red and green parrot on the label. For the store nearest you, call the
    importer, Warbac Sales of New Orleans, at 504 834-1395.) You can approximate the taste with a 50-50 mixture of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup.
    Two tablespoons each Jerk Seasoning and Pickapeppa makes the chicken moderately spicy; 4 tablespoons produces a definite burst of heat.
    If you use the smaller amount of Pickapeppa, you'll need 3 egg whites in order to have enough liquid. These breast halves are sauteed over slightly
    lower heat than usual to keep the pecans from burning.

    4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 to 4 tablespoons Jerk Seasoning (recipe follows) or a commercial jerk blend
    teaspoon salt
    1 cup finely ground pecans (about 4 ounces)
    1 cup fresh bread crumbs (2 slices)
    2 or 3 egg whites (see introduction)
    2 to 4 tablespoons Pickapeppa Sauce (or a 50-50 mixture of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup)
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil

    Trim and discard any excess fat from the chicken breasts. Rinse them well under cold running water, and pat them dry with paper towels.
    Place them between two layers of plastic wrap, and pound them with a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy pan to an even thickness of about inch.
    Mix the flour, Jerk Seasoning, and salt in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish mix the pecans and bread crumbs. In a third dish, beat
    the egg whites and Pickapeppa with a fork until frothy. Set a wire rack atop a baking sheet.
    Dredge each breast half in the seasoned flour, then in the egg mixture, and finally in the pecan mixture, coating completely. Place on the
    rack, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. (See Tips/Techniques note.)
    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken for about 3 minutes per side, reducing the heat if necessary to
    keep the nuts from burning. The chicken should be lightly browned outside and cooked through but still juicy inside. Serve immediately, or keep warm
    in a 200-degree oven for up to 15 minutes.

    Planning Ahead: You can bread the chicken up to a day ahead, and refrigerate it, covered.

    Tips/Techniques:
  • To make fast work of the breading, tear the bread into chunks and process it in the food processor with the whole nuts.
  • Refrigerating the chicken -- or any breaded ingredient -- before frying helps the crumbs stick to the food rather than the skillet. To make a neat job of breading, use just one hand, or tongs. That way you'll be able to answer the phone!

    Variations/Substitutions:
  • You can use almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, or walnuts instead of pecans.
  • Firm, white-fleshed fish such as snapper or grouper is also
    great prepared this way.

    [sidebar:] Jamaican Jerk
    Strictly speaking, "jerk" refers not only to a seasoning blend but to a cooking method-- slow-roasting in a pit over an allspice-wood fire as
    practiced in the jerk huts of Jamaica. It's a 300-year-old technique developed by the Maroons, escaped slaves who lived in the island's desolate
    interior. Bands of Maroons used hot spices and slow cooking to preserve the wild boar that sustained them as they eluded capture by British soldiers.
    And they, in turn, may have learned to use hot peppers and other indi

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