Deep fat fried chicken is popular with many athletes, but fails to be the healthiest of sports foods. This recipe, from my Sports Nutrition Guidebook, offers a yummy alternative that will get “thumbs up” from even fussy eaters.
The recipe is reprinted with permission from the May/June 1999 issue of Cook’s Illustrated, a cooking magazine that I highly recommend if you want to learn more about the what’s, how’s, and why’s of cooking (www.cooksillustrated.com).
1 box (5 ounces) Melba toast
2 to 4 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 egg whites or 1 egg
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Optional: 1 tablespoon dijon mustard; salt and pepper
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Set a wire rack in a shallow baking pan. If desired, line the pan with foil for ease with clean-up. Cooking the chicken on a rack allows air to circulate on all sides, resulting in a crisper chicken without turning.
2. Put the Melba toast into a heavy-duty plastic bag, seal, and pound with a rolling pin or other hard object (wine bottle, can, fist). Leave some crumbs the size of small pebbles to add crunchiness.
3. Put the crumbs in a shallow dish and drizzle the oil over them, tossing well to distribute the oil evenly.
4. Beat the egg in a medium bowl. Add optional seasonings as desired.
5. One piece of chicken at a time, coat the chicken with the egg mixture, then place in the crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the flesh and press them in.
6. Gently shake off excess crumbs and place the chicken on the rack.
7. Bake about 40 minutes, or until the coating is a deep brown and the juices run clear when the meat is slit with a knife.