Today's post breaks the silence with a kick of flavor from the Northeastern US...
You see, Mel and I were recently up in NYC to brave the cold while Orange County suffered a heatwave. Of all the delicious things we ate, we didn't even think to seek out a good pretzel cart! This came as a shock to us once we realized it since even out here in the West, one of our favorite quick snacks is a soft pretzel dabbed in a little spicy brown mustard.
Anyway, to make up for it, I made Pretzel-Crusted Chicken, one of my favorites to make. Being a pretzel fanatic myself, when I heard the list of ingredients for this dish, I was convinced there was no dish more perfect. On top of that it's super quick too; only 15 minutes of work and 30 minutes of baking.
If you've ever had a fresh pretzel with a little mustard, you know the kind of comfort these little guys will conjure up. Instantly working together to bring you the edgy nasal-y flavor of the northeastern streets.
Have a look for yourself:
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine magazine
1/2 lb. pretzels
1/2 c. canola/vegetable oil
1/2 c. whole grain mustard
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. water
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
6 chicken breast halves
Preheat your oven to 400°F.
Crush your pretzels to a coarse consistency. You're gonna have to pull out your food processor eventually so it might as well be now. You should end up with some big chunks and a lot of fine crumbs, but you'll quickly learn to cope with the pretzels and their unique attributes.
Wipe that sucker down and process the canola oil, water, vinegar, and both mustards until it is adequately smooth.
Then pour half of the mixture into a shallow bowl and coat the chicken breasts. Here's where it gets messy: dredge the chicken with the pretzel crumbs, which will, if you're like me and have the finesse of a steamroller, undoubtedly cover the fingers of both of your hands. Don't be afraid to really press the chicken down into the pretzel crumbs.
Transfer to a rack above a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes or until completely cooked through.
Serve warm or at room temperature with the remaining mustard as dressing.
Recommended as a sidedish to this entree, is a good garlicky green veggie.
(Nota bene: for a good, crisp crust make sure you use thick, hard pretzels like the sourdough or handmade type)