October 17, 2011: Coconut-Crusted Chicken with Salsa
Chef Michael Smith
Published Monday, October 17, 2011 9:27AM EDT
Crusting is a time-honoured way to jazz up just about any meat or fish by enclosing it with flavour and texture. Coconut ranks as an ideal crusting candidate, especially on chicken breasts. The coconut's distinctive, crunchy texture adheres easily to the meat while its sweet island taste inspires a simple, tasty salsa.
Coconut-Crusted Chicken with Mango Ginger Mint Salsa
Ingredients for salsa:
- 1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) of finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) of mint sprigs, tightly stacked, rolled, and thinly sliced
- The zest and juice of one lime
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of grated frozen ginger
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of honey
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) of salt
Ingredients for coconut crust:
- 1 cup (250 mL) of all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
- 2 cups (500 mL) of flaked or shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
- A sprinkle or two of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and patted dry
Make the salsa first by simply tossing together the mango, green onions, red pepper, mint, lime zest, lime juice, ginger, honey, olive oil, and salt. Reserve.
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Put the flour, eggs, and coconut into three separate bowls. Season the flour. Working with one breast at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, coating it evenly and shaking off any excess. Dip the chicken into the egg, coating it evenly and letting any excess drip off. Finally, dip the chicken into the coconut, turning, pressing, and sprinkling as needed so the crust adheres. Place the crusted breast on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Bake until the breasts are golden brown and crusty, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted in its thickest part registers 160°F (70°C).
Arrange on a serving platter and top with the salsa. Serve and share!