Dinner Rush! Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken with Chard-Kale Salad

Get ready for holiday season gluttony by baking this panko-breadcrumb-coated oven-fried chicken. (It's actually crispy.)

It’s not hard to spend the holiday season feeling overstuffed. Fruit pies, cider doughnuts and slow-cooker stews are regular party-circuit fare. Get yourself ready for the onslaught by recharging your system with some fried chicken.

Don’t worry; it’s not the traditional greasy stuff. This one hits the oven (not the frying pan) with a coating of crispy panko breadcrumbs for all the comfort of the original and just a fraction of the calories. I know there are lots of oven-fried-chicken recipes out there, but this one is different. Here’s why:

1) It’s actually crispy. The secret is to toast the panko for a few minutes before you bread the chicken. Panko has great texture, but toasting gives it even more of that satisfying crunch. Instant success.

2) The breading actually stays on the chicken (a novel idea, I know). When you mix a bit of flour with the beaten eggs to make a paste, those toasted panko bits more easily adhere to the chicken while it's baking.

Double the secrets must mean double the success. Sounds like you’re in for a winner winner chicken dinner.

Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken with Chard-Kale Salad
Total Time: 35 min
Inactive Prep: 10 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy
For the chicken:
1 1/2 cups panko
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
For the salad:
1 small bunch rainbow chard, stems removed, leaves chopped
1 small bunch kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup shaved pecorino cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread the panko onto a baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Let cool.

Set up three wide, shallow dishes on a work surface. Add 1/4 cup flour to the first. Beat the eggs and 2 tablespoons flour in the second. In the third, toss the panko with the onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and coat each piece first in the flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg mixture and finally in the seasoned panko. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, prepare the salad. In a large bowl toss the chard and kale with the lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes. Toss in the olive oil and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and cheese.

Serve the chicken with the salad.

NOTE: Easily wash your greens by filling up a large bowl (or the kitchen sink) with cold water. Chop the greens, toss them in the water and add more water if needed so that there’s at least 1 inch of space between the floating greens and the bottom of the bowl. Give them a good swishing and then let the water sit still for a few minutes so that all of the sediment can sink to the bottom. Lift the greens out of the water, dry them in a salad spinner or on a tea towel and you’re ready to go.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he’s now the Digital Content Manager for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Instagram or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.

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