Do you remember your first cookbook?
I remember reading my Mom’s cookbooks and magazines when I was growing up. I know I made some things out of them but things didn’t reall seem to stick with me until I had cookbooks of my own. I got my first real cookbook junior year of college; I used my Christmas money to buy Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats.
I poured through that book over and over and the first thing I made is still my favorite – this pretzel crusted chicken.
Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheddar Mustard Sauce
(adapted from Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats)
2 small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 5-ounce bag of salted pretzels, any shape
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 heaping tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 dill pickle coins, finely chopped
Preheat a large non-stick skillet with a 1/4-inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
Pound out chicken breasts until thin.
Place the pretzels in a food processor or blender and grind until fine. Transfer the ground pretzels to a shallow dish, add the thyme and some salt and pepper. Crack and beat egg in a second shallow dish with a splash of water. One at a time, coat each chicken breast in pretzels, then the egg and then again in the pretzels.
Add the pretzel-coated chicken breast to the hot oil. Cook about 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear and breading is evenly browned.
While the chicken is frying, in a medium saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook flour and butter for 1 minute and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese and mustard. Season with a little salt and pepper, and remove cheese sauce from the heat.
Transfer the fried pretzel-crusted chicken breast to a serving plate and top with chopped pickle. Drizzle with cheddar mustard sauce.