Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken with Toasted Garlic Escarole

In the winter, my tendency is to make tagines, baked pastas and all day stewed meats. It is a season of hearty food, rich food and the king of comfort food. The cold weather makes us craves rich, warm dishes that satisfy the belly and the soul.

But generally, around the end of February, I start to feel – well, large. Fortunately, this winter didn’t tag me with the extra 10 pounds it normally does (thanks to an upcoming beach vacation that keeps me sticking to my workout routine). However, I still get to a point where I want something a bit lighter. Something that I don’t eat with a glass of wine and fall asleep on the couch at 9pm.

And, with the uncharacteristically warm weather we have had as of late, this felt like a good dish that can transition to the summer months.

The chicken is so crispy and has a fried taste, without the added guilt (this dish has less than 300 calories). The rosemary and walnut give it extra flavor, and is balanced by the lemony salad. It was so delicious, light, and surprisingly very filling. This one will be making more appearances as the seasons change.

So, if you are like me and need to have a slight departure from your winter food rut, this recipe is a great one – and without the guilt. Thanks to Cooking Light for this one!

WALNUT AND ROSEMARY OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN
Serves 4

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 (6-ounce) chicken cutlets
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
Rosemary leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine buttermilk and mustard in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken to buttermilk mixture, turning to coat.

Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko to pan; cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Combine panko, nuts, and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture; discard buttermilk mixture. Dredge chicken in panko mixture.

Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on rack; coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 13 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired.
TOASTED GARLIC ESCAROLE
Cut a 1½-pound escarole head crosswise into 1-inch strips; place in a large bowl. Heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat; add 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle dressing over escarole, and toss to coat.

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