When you're not making fun of the Paleo diet, it's actually a pretty effective way to shed pounds and learn to eat healthier without sacrificing your favorite bacon. Uh, food. Grab this reliable book of Paleo-hacked comfort food and prepare to fill up on protein. Next up, the best chicken breast preparation you've never tried.
Back in 1997 or so, when I was waiting tables at the Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta, my friend Jonn “Nish” Nishiyama won best seafood chef in Georgia for his ginger-garlic-scallion-crusted halibut. It was the one dish that we could not remove from the formal dining room menu at the golf club—everyone absolutely loved this dish (myself included). Ever since then, coating things in a ginger, garlic and scallion paste has been a go-to technique of mine, and I have Nish to thank for the inspiration. Not only does the crust taste great, but it also adds some great color to the dish.
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped scallions
- 2 to 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon oil or cooking fat of choice
- 1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap on both sides and, using a meat mallet, pound them to an even thickness, about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick.
- Combine the scallions, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil to the food processor and process into a paste.
- Heat the 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large ovenproof skillet and place the chicken in the skillet, smooth side down. Sear the chicken for about 2 to 3 minutes on one side, or until lightly browned and the chicken easily releases from the pan.
- Flip the chicken breasts and turn off the burner. Coat the seared side with the ginger-garlic-scallion paste and sprinkle the nuts on top, pressing on them so they adhere to the paste.
- Place the chicken in the oven for 10 minutes, or until it is cooked through (internal temperature reaches at least 170°F) and the nut crust on the top is golden brown.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes and serve.
Note: The ginger-garlic-scallion crust is also incredibly tasty on fish. The crust also works well with macadamia nuts instead of almonds.
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