Recipe by Lawren Moneta.
A homemade spice rub is a wonderful way to jazz up a simple chicken breast. In this cross cultural mash-up we use dukkah, an Egyptian nut and spice blend. You might be able to source it in gourmet grocery stores, but it’s just as easy to make at home.
Plus, you can customize it using different nuts (pistachios work well) or spices (fennel seeds and hot pepper flakes are great additions) as you like. Extra dukkah is delicious as a dip. Simply dip bread or vegetables in some extra-virgin olive oil or yogurt before rolling in dukkah and enjoying.
Photo: Kyoko Fierro
For the schnitzel
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, halved horizontally
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds
- ½ cup skinned almonds
- ⅓ cup skinned hazelnuts
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- 1 tsp ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
- 1 tsp sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil or vegetable oil, plus extra as needed
- ½ medium head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
- 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 green onions, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste
- ¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes
- 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
To make dukkah, start by toasting coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Transfer spices to spice grinder or mortar and pestle and allow to cool completely before finely grinding. Meanwhile, toast almonds and hazelnuts in same frying pan as spices, stirring often, until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Transfer to cutting board and finely chop before placing in a bowl. Add sesame seeds to frying pan and toast until golden brown (about 2 minutes). Add toasted sesame seeds to bowl with chopped nuts along with ground spices, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
In a food processor fitted with steel blade attachment, chop cauliflower until rice-like in texture. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and add grated cauliflower. Cook, stirring often, until warmed through (about 4 minutes). Transfer cooked cauliflower to a rimmed baking tray and let cool to room temperature.
Wipe out food processor and pulse together parsley, mint, green onions, garlic, lemon juice, salt and remaining 4 tbsp oil until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in pepper flakes. Add cooled cauliflower and tomatoes and gently toss everything together. Season to taste with additional salt and set aside while making schnitzel.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and a good pinch of salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. In a third bowl, combine together ¾ cup dukkah and panko.
Preheat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working with one chicken breast at a time, first coat it in flour, dusting off any excess, then dip into egg mixture and press into dukkah crumb mixture to coat.
Fry schnitzels in batches until golden brown and cooked through (about 3 minutes per side). Add additional oil to the frying pan as needed. Serve while warm alongside cauliflower tabbouleh.