This tangy recipe puts your oven to work for mess-free, crisp-crusted fried chicken. If you marinate the chicken in the morning, it will be ready to coat and bake by dinnertime -- and you might want to try doubling the recipe, since leftovers make fantastic sandwiches.
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 4 hours
Yield: 4 servings
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice and grated zest of 1/2 lemon (around 1/4 cup juice and 1 teaspoon zest)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 shallots, minced or 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided use (or half as much table salt)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (around 2 pounds)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
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- In a large Ziploc bag, mix together the buttermilk, the lemon juice and zest, the oil, the shallots, the thyme, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the cayenne. Then add the chicken, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 3 to 12 hours.
- Heat the oven to 450 F.
- In a pie plate, combine the cornmeal, the bread crumbs, the parmesan, the parsley, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the paprika. Remove each piece of chicken from the marinade, dip it in the egg, and dredge it in the cornmeal mixture, shaking off the excess.
- Arrange the chicken on a lightly oiled baking pan, drizzle the butter over it, and bake it in the middle of the oven for 35 minutes, or until it is crisp and golden. Slice each breast into strips and serve the chicken warm or at room temperature.