I love sunflower seeds. They have a wonderfully nutty flavor, they’re inexpensive, and I love their size – unlike other larger nuts/seeds that may require chopping (almonds, pecans, walnuts), sunflower seeds can be tossed into all manner of things as is. I put them in everything, including salads, as a topping on soups, in rice and pasta dishes, and more. So when I saw a recipe for a sunflower seed crusted-chicken in the newspaper a few months ago I clipped it.
In a nutshell, you bread chicken cutlets in a breadcrumb-sunflower seed mixture then pan-fry them. I didn’t use much oil at all (less than the recipe called for), and the breading stayed on the cutlets just fine. You do have to rough chop these sunflower seeds but since you’re only using 1/4 cup, it’s quick and easy.
You could serve these by themselves with sides, but I topped one of my patented garbage salads with them, which was chock full of roasted veggies, herbs and greens, that I’ve talked about here and here, and it was super fantastic. Hope you enjoy!
Sunflower Seed-Crusted Chicken
Yield: serves 4
Total Time: Less than an hour including soaking time.
Thank goodness Tim Sacks taught me the F-E-B trick for breading and frying! I used to always forget which order to dip in egg, dredge in flour, etc. No more! Like the month, F-E-B, first dredge in Flour, then Egg, then Bread. Genius.
1 pound chicken cutlets
1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar, or buttermilk
1 cup flour
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, crushed
3-4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, lightly chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Soak chicken milk/vinegar mixture or buttermilk for 30 minutes or so. Meanwhile, assemble breading ingredients.
Using a deep plate or shallow dish, combine flour and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. In a shallow dish or bowl, crack eggs and whip with a fork until frothy. On another plate or shallow dish combine breadcrumbs, rosemary and sunflower seeds.
Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from milk mixture and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge cutlets in breading mixture in this order: Flour, egg, breadcrumbs/sunflower seeds.
In batches being careful not to crowd chicken, sear each cutlet 3 to 5 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked through. Let rest a minute or two once done and slice diagonally. Serve with sides or over a garbage salad.
This recipe was adapted from Sunflower Seed & Herb-Crusted Chicken from the Tennessean in April 2013, here.