I’m almost embarrassed to be posting this recipe. It’s easy, quick, customizable– a no-brainer. No need for a recipe card or step-by-step instructions.
But these are way good- so good, in fact, that I am embarassed to say we devoured them before I even thought to take an ‘after’ picture. They were inhaled straight off the cookie sheet, dipped in a little ranch with our fingers and eaten standing up, hovering over the stove. That’s how good.
Plus, this recipe is a good reason to share the three tips that I’ve found will dress up any bread-crumb breading and make it instantly devour-able:
- Use good bread. Speaking of a no-brainer… but seriously, Wonder Bread has little to no flavor. Its only redeeming quality is its soft spongy texture, which is utterly lost when used as bread crumbs. Forgo the bland white breads and use a bread with some flavor, some guts, a little kick. I freeze the “butts” from our weekly loaves of 7-grain honey wheat since they’re a little too dry for sandwiches, and run them through the food processor when I need crumbs.
- Kosher salt. Sea salt, shmee shmalt. (Say that 5 times fast!) Sea salt is all the rage, and for good reasons. But have ya heard of koshering meat? There’s a reason why Jewish & gentile women alike cover large hunks of animal flesh with a crust of kosher salt- because it’s delicious. I love the crunchy boldness of the larger, flakier kosher salt on any breaded object.
- Parmesan cheese. You don’t need a lot. Don’t think of it as cheese… think of it more as an herb, a seasoning, a subtle flavor to impart on your tastebuds. It’s like a tiny little kiss on your tongue with every bite. Mmmmm.
This recipe feeds two [hungry] adult people, but obviously can be doubled or tripled for large amounts of nugget goodness. Leftovers are fantastic in the oven and microwave!
Adult chicken nuggets
2 chicken breasts, de-boned and skinned
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 T. kosher salt
a goodly amount of fresh ground black pepper
1 t. each thyme, minced parsley, and oregano (leaves, not powder)
a couple dashes of cayenne (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the chicken up into ‘nuggets’ (aka cubes).
In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the chicken and olive oil. Or, rub the spices straight onto the chicken breasts and let sit for 10-20 minutes before breading (see first picture). Then mix the remaining dry ingredients together.
Cover the chicken pieces in the crumb mixture, 2 or 3 cubes at a time. Place them on a baking sheet, and be sure that the sides aren’t touching.
Once all the pieces are breaded and sheeted, drizzle a couple of drops of oil on each piece of chicken (it makes them crispier). You could also try spraying with cooking spray, though my guess is that the olive oil will taste better. (I have a small spray-bottle with some light oil in it and this works fabulously.)
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes; flip pieces over with a spatula and bake for another 4 or 5 minutes. Dip in dressing of choice and devour. Careful not to burn your tongue.