Last week I gave in and fried the Greek yogurt apple rings, so I thought this week I should try (again) to bake something. Papi Chulo is always asking if we can bake things instead of frying them – I guess he gets his fill of fried items whenever we make tostones or sweet plantains! I found the perfect baked-item candidate in a trusty classic: panko-crusted chicken.
I love pan frying panko-crusted chicken, but it isn’t the healthiest. It also tends to splatter oil around the stovetop, and I got a pretty nasty burn under my chin a few years ago when a piece of chicken slipped out of the tongs, fell, and splashed my face with burning hot oil. Not fun! That’s why this week I created a new twist on the classic panko chicken. This recipe uses Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise (yay!) and is baked, not fried. It’s crispy, full of flavor, and won’t leave you with oil burns!
I used dried thyme in the recipe, but you can use fresh thyme or dried/fresh parsley. They’re all equally tasty! I do recommend using a brown mustard – yellow mustard just won’t give you the same depth of flavor. I also highly recommend finding panko breadcrumbs instead of settling for the ‘normal’ kind. Panko has an extra special crunch and airiness that really make this dish! Even if you haven’t noticed it before, your local grocery store probably has at least one variety of panko hidden on the top shelf above all the other breadcrumbs.
- 4 thin-sliced chicken breast fillets, or 2 regular chicken breasts
- ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt (I love Fage!)
- 3 tablespoons mustard
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Thoroughly mix the yogurt and mustard together in a pie pan or other shallow dish.
- Combine the panko, thyme, salt, pepper, and cheese in a second pie pan and mix to combine.
- If you're using regular chicken breasts, cut each in half through the middle so you now have two thin fillets from each breast. Place each fillet between two layers of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness of about 1" using a mallet or heavy skillet.
- Lightly coat a wire rack with cooking spray and fit it in/over a baking tray.
- Coat a chicken fillet with the yogurt/mustard mixture. I find this easiest to do when I place each fillet in the yogurt individually and then use a spoon to spread around the yogurt/mustard mixture.
- Transfer the freshly-coated chicken to the panko/cheese mixture, cover both sides with the panko mix, and press slightly to hold it in place.
- Move the panko-crusted chicken fillet to the prepared wire rack and repeat the coating process with each remaining chicken breast.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven until a thermometer inserted in the middle of a fillet reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, about 25-30 minutes. For a little extra browning, swap the oven over to low broil once the chicken reaches about 150 degrees.
- Remove from the oven, top with additional cheese, if desired, and serve warm.
Wouldn’t this also be good in lieu of regular chicken parmesan? I can imagine it draped over a plate of fresh noodles and topped with a tomato sauce that tastes like summer. Yum!
Have you cooked with panko before? What’s your favorite way to use it?