Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dukkah Crusted Chicken

Judging by the picture above you would think that is some sort of cornmeal crusted chicken - wrong! Not only is it gluten free but its a traditional spice and nut (!) mixture called Dukkah, Egyptian in origin.

I discovered dukkah first at 101 Cookbooks - when it immediately went into the DIY bookmark file and settled down for a long winter's nap. Then while browsing through Smitten Kitchen's archives I realized how to use this wondrous find and was re-inspired all over again!

Although it is termed a spice mixture, it is a savory flavor, no heat involved. However, you could easily throw in some heat - cayenne, chili powder, red pepper flakes - if heat was your desire. While I enjoyed the crunchy texture and savory flavor, my next attempt will probably include more spice.

The green herb puree pictured above was from this meal and was the perfect accompaniment for these savory tenders. But BBQ sauce or honey mustard dipping sauce would also be great as well. The crust is quite dry so make sure to provide some sort of dipping condiment!

A word on how to prepare the hazelnuts; toast them well in a dry skillet on the stove top until the papery skins begins to flake off but not burn. This ensures an easier time at rubbing off the skins. The chicken is prepared with a mustard-oil dressing to ensure the dukkah sticks, rather than the usual flour and milk (she was hosting a kosher guest the evening she made it) and since I was still on a dairy-free diet at the time, I stuck to her recipe. The results were beautiful and may be my new way for coating chicken!

Dukkah Crusted Chicken (inspired by 101 Cookbooks and Smitten Kitchen)

1 lb chicken tenders (or thighs) de-skinned and de-boned, cut into strips
2 tablespoons prepared mustard (Dijon or other creamy style)
1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup coriander seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
1 teaspoon salt

Prepare dukkah first. Heat empty heavy bottom skillet over high heat. Add hazelnuts and toast until skins brown and begin to flake off, shaking the pan or stirring nuts frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat and allow to cool and rub off skins. Set aside. Toast each of the following in the same manner, separate from each other and allow to cool: sesame seeds until they turn light brown, cumin seeds until they begin to color, black peppercorns until their scent fills the air, and fennel seeds until they begin to brown. Allow all to cool then process in food processor until ground coarsely, not finely. Add dried mint and salt and mix well to combine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set up dipping station by combining mustard and oil in large shallow bowl and place dukkah in another similar bowl. Dip chicken in mustard oil and then dip in dukkah and toss to coat; set aside on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Finishing coating all chicken and bake for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through and beginning to brown. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Scandinavian Nettle and Fish Soup at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
Wintery Spring Rolls at 101 Cookbooks
Thai Chicken Pizza with Sweet Chili Sauce at Closet Cooking

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