Updated: Aug 30
Makes 4 pieces of crispy chicken
A bouquet of flowers, my dirty pink socks, and a smudged laptop screen. In that order. Yesterday was my 24th birthday and today I'm staring at the flowers my parents sent, my grim socks, and my laptop. This morning, I exclaimed that I loved the flowers, and my partner reminded me, for the third time, that I didn't love the flowers, I loved the sentiment. He's right. I wondered how he was so right – I prefer to be unpredictable you see. Then I remembered that we once spoke about gifts, and what each of us would genuinely appreciate down the line. I emphatically said, 'don't get me flowers'. I had to quickly amend that statement; I said, 'don't get me flowers, unless you take care of them'. For the act of taking care of and arranging flowers, is the loving act, not the purchase of the perennials themselves. He has gotten me flowers and not taken care of them but for the sake of this article we’ll pretend he’s perfect and always wipes the bench when he does the dishes.
As a cook, I fry, sauté, bake, slice, season, and do all other manner of kitcheny things so often that it never feels like much of an effort to cook for another person. Especially not something so basic as a panko crumbed chicken breast. However, as June is birthday season in my orbit; enter jovial june, fete frolic, hullabaloo hour, I’m in consistent present-giving mode. That thirty dollars you spend on ingredients to make a perfectly crisp chicken breast, a fennel salad, and a hollandaise, will mean more than the hundred dollars corporate Ryan spent on a bottle of champagne.
I truly appreciated the sentiment of those flowers, but the effort to keep them alive, that would’ve thawed the cockles. As would the endeavour to make a delicious piece of chicken.
2 chicken breasts
3 cups of panko breadcrumbs
Salt & Pepper
Optional: black and white sesame seeds OR grated parmesan
Butterfly your chicken breasts so that you have 4 pieces of chicken. Then place a piece of baking paper on to a folded tea towel. Lay down one of your chicken breasts and cover it with another piece of baking paper.
Using the back of a sturdy frying pan, bash the chicken breast a few times until it is about 1 and a half centimetres thick. Repeat this with all of the pieces of chicken.
In a shallow dish or bowl, whisk your two eggs together.
In a separate shallow dish, pour in your breadcrumbs and season them with salt and pepper. If you want to add a little something more to the chicken you could use sesame seeds or grated parmesan in the breadcrumb mixture.
Dip one chicken breast into the whisked eggs, let the excess drip off, then lay the chicken breast down into the breadcrumbs. Coat the chicken breast in breadcrumbs - the best way to do this is to shake the dish back and forth, flip the chicken breast over and then gently press the breadcrumbs into the chicken with your hands. Repeat this step with all of the chicken breasts.
Place a frying pan over a medium-high heat with 4 tablespoons of rice bran oil (or any neutral vegetable oil). Once hot, lay your chicken breasts down in the pan - depending on the size of the pan you might be able to get 4 breasts in but I often do 2 at a time.
Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through.
Remove the chicken and place it on a cooling rack to let any excess oil drip off.
Serve with my fennel salad and dijon hollandaise!