{recipe} Pecan-Crusted Chicken

I was thinking about one of my favorite old white-trash recipes, which involves coating chicken pieces in mayonnaise and cornflakes and baking them in the oven. I decided there must be a more sophisticated way to make a dish like this, so I swapped out the cornflakes for pecans and made a tangy yogurt-based coating to stand in for the mayo. I also sauteed the chicken in olive oil instead of baking it, although I would suspect that you could just as easily throw it in the oven.

Not only did it taste a heckuva lot better than the original, it seemed a slightly more balanced nutritionally, and yeah, a lot less white trashy. I served it over a bed of kale wilted with a little garlic and cayenne in homage to its down-home roots.

Pecan-Crusted Chicken


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 6 to 8 oz. each
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • olive oil for sautéing


  • Use a mallet to pound chicken breasts into a uniform 1/2 inch thickness. Cut each breast into 2 or 3 pieces for manageability.
  • Combine lemon juice, yogurt, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and set aside. Put chicken pieces in mixture and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Combine pecans, crumbs, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Wipe excess yogurt off chicken and dredge in pecan mixture. When oil is hot, add chicken pieces to pan and cook about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown on the outside and cooked through. You may need to do it in batches, in which case you should wipe the pan out between batches and add a bit more oil.
  • Serve immediately.

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