Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mustard Breaded Chicken Breast & Cazin 2008 Cheverny Le Petit Chambord

There's something about breaded chicken breasts that I just love. It could be the moistness of the chicken, it could be the crispiness of the coating. I just really enjoy the whole package. Instead of following the normal flour, egg, breadcrumb approach, I often use Dijon Mustard as the gluing agent. I also like to bake the breasts rather than fry them, partly because it means I don't have to wipe up the stove of splattered fat. After a few tasty, but not quite perfect previous approaches to baking the chicken breasts, dinner last night came through. I tossed the breadcrumbs and herbs in olive oil in a heated skillet. Everything came together, the tang of the mustard, the flavor of the herbs, the crispness, the juiciness. And as always, there were leftovers. Don't get me started on how good perfectly cooked cold chicken tastes.

Ingredients
- chicken breast
- panko breadcrumbs (approx. 1 cup)
- Dijon mustard
- oregano (1 tsp)
- tarragon (1 tsp)
- salt and pepper (1 tsp each)
- olive oil

Recipe
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, oregano, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Add olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) to a saute pan over medium head and when the oil is hot add the breadcrumb mixture and toss (or stir) in the olive oil. Cook until the breadcrumbs start to go brown. Do not over brown them because the chicken and breadcrumbs will cooking in the oven for about 30 minutes. Pour the breadcrumb mixture into a bowl.

Pull off the little chicken tender portion of the chicken breast and season both pieces of chicken. Coat both pieces with Dijon Mustard and toss in the breadcrumbs making sure the chicken pieces are coated with breadcrumbs.

Put the chicken in a baking dish lightly coated with olive oil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is browned and cooked through. The chicken tender piece will take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Wine Pairing
Francois Cazin 2008 Cheverny Petit Chambord. This is an excellent value from the Loire Valley and of course is brought in by Louis Dressner. It has medium weight, with lemon and lime confit and a bracing acidity. Wonderful with the breaded chicken, the acidity just cuts through the crispy breadcrumbs.

By legislation, Cheverny has to be a blend and this is traditionally a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (70%) and Chardonnary (30%). This vintage definitely feels more Sauvignon Blanc to me; in previous vintages the Chardonnay seems to round out the wine in a lovely way.

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