1/2 cup salted peanuts*
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup flour
4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless, patted dry**
Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Olive oil for the pan
* You could substitute any nuts that you desire. Pistachio nuts are great to use and very delicious.
** The U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as food agencies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, advises against washing poultry. Rinsing chicken will not remove or kill much bacteria, and the splashing of water around the sink can spread the bacteria found in raw chicken. Cooking poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit effectively destroys the most common culprits behind food-borne illness.
Heat the oven to 500 degrees F.
In a food processor or coffee grinder, pulse the peanuts just until finely crushed. Be careful not to grind them to a paste. Transfer the crushed nuts to a plate or shallow bowl; set aside.
In a second plate, beat the eggs with the cayenne pepper; set aside.
Place flour in a third plate; set aside.
Working with one chicken breast at a time, place each between two pieces of plastic wrap with the smooth side down (where the skin used to be). Working from the center to the edges, gently pound each chicken breast with a meat mallet to 1/4-inch thick. You want the smooth side to remain intact while the ragged side receives the impact of the mallet. Since chicken has little connective tissue, it is important to use gentle strokes when pounding—the meat can tear easily.
Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper. With one hand (this will be your dry hand), dredge a chicken breast in the flour, making sure it is coated evenly. Shake off the excess. Transfer the chicken to the other hand (this will be your wet hand) and dip it in the egg. With the same hand, dredge the chicken breast on one side only in the crushed peanuts, patting to coat the chicken. Set aside, nut side down, and repeat with the three (3) remaining chicken pieces.
In a large cast-iron pan or a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, add just enough oil to make a light film. When the oil is very hot, add the chicken, peanut side down, and cook approximately 2 minutes or until the crust is light brown. Flip the chicken over, put the skillet in the oven, and let the chicken roast for about 4 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (juices will run clear when cut with the tip of a knife). Remove the pan from the oven and serve immediately.
This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
Makes 4 servings.