Saturday, October 21, 2006

Panko and Ginger Crusted Chicken

I had some fun with last night's dinner... a slight adaptation of the Panko-and-Ginger-Crusted Chicken with Stir-Fried Vegetables and Sweet and Sour Mustard Sauce from Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home. It's a really nice book, but I wish there were pictures of the dishes. The only pictures to be found are x-rays or photo paper impressions of various food items; they look neat but don't help the reader to envision the finished dishes. However, even without pictures, you get a good idea of what you'll end up with, since all of the recipes have descriptive titles that list most of the ingredients. The recipes have unexpected flavors or presentations, and are a nice change of pace for a home cook who might be looking to spice things up a bit (although not all of the recipes are as easy or quick as the one I chose).

For this dish, strips of chicken breast are coated with a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and minced ginger (1 tablespoon of ginger for each cup of panko) and fried in just a couple of tablespoons of oil. The ginger flavor is fairly strong, but not in a bad way. To balance the ginger, there's a honey-mustard sauce that's 2 parts honey to 1 part mustard, with a bit of rice wine vinegar added to cut the sweetness. The sauce recipe calls for Chinese mustard, but the local Giant didn't have any, so I used Dijon mustard. Since I had it in my head that Chinese mustard is hot, I added just enough cayenne pepper to give it a little kick. Not exactly the same as the recipe version, but I still ended up with a nice, tangy, sweet sauce.

The recipe calls for a veggie combo that I'm not crazy about (bok choy/leeks/water chestnuts/bean sprouts), so I stir-fried some bell peppers, carrots, and shallots instead. Broccoli would have been a nice addition, as would green beans or snap peas.

Definitely not a dish for anyone who doesn't like ginger or mustard or honey. Those are the three dominant flavors, and although they match well with each other, none of them is subtle.

I'm looking forward to trying some more recipes from this book, especially some of the desserts.

Panko and Ginger Crusted Chicken

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