Hazelnut Chicken and the Great Breading Lie

Everywhere you look, the Great Breading Lie is repeated, magazines, cookbooks, online recipes. “Flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.” Let me be clear, there is no reason to flour before egg. Not only is it not necessary, but it hinders the whole process. Flour is hydrophobic, meaning that water or the water in the egg, is repelled by the flour.

I thought possibly that this was worse here in California with low humidity, but I’ve heard even California cooks repeat the Lie.

I’ve always thought it very odd. I mean, why lie? What could anyone be getting out of this? At first, I thought it was a joke that professional cooks were playing on the unsuspecting public, but, then, I started working in professional kitchens, and some repeated the Lie. Others didn’t, but there was not some big conspiracy about it.

I doubt that I’ll ever find out why or how it originated, I’m just happy that I know the truth.

This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

Hazelnut Chicken

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, toasted in a dry pan
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried, rubbed sage
  • 1 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup port wine
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Pulse panko, hazelnuts, and sage in food processor until coarsely chopped. I usually do a big batch and store in the freezer.

Whisk together mustard and egg.


Dip chicken in egg mixture, then in hazelnut breadcrumbs.

Place chicken breast on a rack over a half sheet tray. Liberally spray with oil.

Bake in a 425F oven for 12-15 minutes, until chicken is done at 165F internal temperature.

Shortly before popping chicken in oven, start sauce. Sweat shallots in butter until soft, about 15 minutes. Add stock, wine and cranberries.

Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, until liquid is reduced by half. Add vinegar, and serve with chicken.



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