This is on the menu at Ambar, a newly opened Balkan restaurant in the District. According to the chef, the dish is a variation of one eaten by monks at the Gracanica Monastery in Serbia to end their fast. He riffed on the recipe, adding the apple-wasabi sauce and the nuts.
Make Ahead: The sauce can be prepared and refrigerated a day in advance.
- For the sauce
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche
- 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 tablespoon wasabi mayonnaise (see NOTE)
- For the chicken
- Canola oil, for frying
- 1/4 cup flour
- 5 tablespoons plain panko bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons plain dried bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped skin-on almonds
- 1 large egg
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, tenderloins and all visible fat removed (10 to 12 ounces total)
For the sauce: Whisk together the apples, shallot, creme fraiche, yogurt and wasabi mayonnaise in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the chicken: Place a wire rack over several layers of paper towels.
Heat enough of the oil so that it comes at least 1/4 inch up the sides of a large skillet. The oil is ready when it reaches 325 degrees.
Meanwhile, spread the flour on a plate. Combine both kinds of bread crumbs and both kinds of nuts in a wide, shallow bowl. Break the egg in a separate wide, shallow bowl and beat it lightly.
Pound the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap to a thickness of 1/3 inch. Season lightly on both sides with salt.
Dip the chicken three times: in the flour on both sides, coating lightly and evenly; into the egg, coating evenly; then into the breadcrumb-nut mixture, coating both sides completely and gently pressing the coating onto the chicken as needed.
Transfer to the hot oil and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, turning the chicken over as needed. The chicken is done when it is golden on both sides and just cooked through. Transfer to the rack to drain for a minute or two.
Serve hot, with the sauce on the side.
NOTE: Wasabi mayonnaise is available in some specialty markets. To make your own for this recipe, mix 2 tablespoons of prepared mayonnaise with 1/2 teaspoon of wasabi powder and 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce.
Adapted from Bojan Bocvarov, chef at Ambar on Capitol Hill.
Tested by Jim Webster.
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