As with all American classics, Chef Elana takes her fried chicken sandwiches very seriously. This is her absolute ideal sandwich, and a lighter take at that—instead of a heavy batter, we’re dredging the chicken in crispy panko breadcrumbs, then lightly pan-frying it, rather than submerging in oil. You’ll still find all of the key toppings: pickle, tomato, and aioli. Old Bay seasoning adds smoky sweetness to the creamy condiment, as well as the chicken’s crispy breading.
2 plum tomatoes, divided
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, divided
1 tablespoon honey, divided
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup flour
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
3 ounces spring mix lettuce
2 brioche buns
½ cup sliced dill pickle
¼ cup olive oil
meat mallet (optional)
12″ large nonstick pan
Since the inner flesh of the tomato holds a lot of moisture, you’re discarding the seeds here to keep the salad from turning soggy.
1. Prepare Ingredients
Rinse all produce. Thinly slice 1 tomato and set aside for serving; halve remaining tomato lengthwise, scoop out and discard seeds, then thinly slice into strips (see Recipe Tip). Halve lemon. In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, ¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, half of honey, and juice of ½ lemon. Season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired to combine, then set aioli aside until ready to serve.
2. Pound Chicken
Pat chicken dry with paper towel and place between 2 large pieces plastic wrap, working in batches as needed. Using a meat mallet or heavy pan, pound to ¼-inch thickness. Try to pound the chicken as thinly and evenly as possible, but don’t stress if it tears!
3. Dredge Chicken
On a large plate, combine flour, remaining Old Bay, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. In a large shallow bowl, whisk 1 egg. Place breadcrumbs on a separate large plate. Season chicken all over with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge in breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere.
4. Cook Chicken
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken and sear until crust is browned and chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Remove pan from heat, wipe clean, and reserve for toasting buns.
5. Make Salad and Toast Buns
While chicken cooks, in a large bowl, whisk together white balsamic, remaining honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Add spring mix and tomato strips and toss to coat, then set aside. Slice buns open horizontally, if they arrived whole, and place cut-side down in pan from chicken over medium heat. Toast until light golden and warmed through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to serving plates.
6. Plate Crispy Chicken Sandwiches
Cut each chicken breast in half, then stack and layer onto bun bottoms (everyone gets 2 pieces!). Drizzle over Old Bay aioli and top with pickles and tomato slices. Serve with salad and dig in!
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