Chicken Breast Strips crusted in Fresh Basil, Almond Flour and Brined Green Peppercorns

(a gluten free recipe)

You know how these things go.

This started out as black cracked pepper on Chicken Strips, but I realized I had some fresh basil. You really have to keep the basil pinched back or it heads off and gets leggy, fast! Half of it is already flowering; which tells you that in addition to being a lazy cook, I’m also a rather lazy gardener.

So, it turned into Fresh Basil Chicken Strips.

About mid morning, in the process of transferring the 48 ounces of Duke’s Mayonnaise (the ONLY mayonnaise, in my humble opinion and no, I WISH they were giving me a kickback) from the wretched plastic containers they’ve started using (what the hell were they thinking?) to mason jars I had to find some room in the over-packed fridge and came across a jar with about a cup of almond flour.

The Lazy Cook is allergic to casein and the Mister has a family history of Celiacs Disease; with some degree of sub-clinical symptoms, so almond milk and rice milk are the creamy beverages of choice.

Rice Milk is fairly easy to find and not as expensive as the less available (in a small southern town) almond, so I bought some in bulk and put it back. It has come in handy for the Chard Almond Loaf.

So, as it is with the Lazy Cook, it turned into Chicken Strips crusted with Fresh Basil and Almond Flour.

Then I found the brined green peppercorns……

The Lazy Cook is an adventurous eater. And there is a fantastic Hmong Market in the city nearby. They carry all the standard Asian foodstuff, plus the in-store kitchen makes treats like the “rice bombs” (as we call them) wrapped in fresh bamboo leaves. But I digress.

Initially I picked up the brined green pepper corns because they looked interesting. That’s it. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. They’re from Thailand, out of Bangkok via Chicago. Go figure.

The flavor is an interesting mix of green citrus zing from the immature corns, with the expected spice of pepper and a slow heat that lingers on the lips and tongue for a bit; and obviously the salt.

I am pretty sure that the citrus notes from the peppercorns will play nicely off the smoother, deeper basil flavors. We shall see.

So, in the end, it became Chicken Breast Strips crusted in Fresh Basil, Almond Flour and Brined Green Peppercorns.

Here’s the plan:

Once the chicken is thawed, I’ll pat it dry with a paper towel after setting the oven to 350.

While the oven is heating up, I’ll brush on some of the basil mayonnaise I made this morning (which started this whole mess) and roll the strips in a mixture of almond flour, chopped fresh basil and slightly crushed green peppercorns.

Sorry the only measurement I can really give you is a cup of almond flour to a pound of meat. The basil mayo is just a suggestion. Any oil will do: olive, coconut, lard. Or leave damp with the juices if you are watching the cals. (Me? I scoff at cals)

With the fresh chopped basil, I’d stick with around 1/8 cup. Dried, I’d use a couple of tablespoons.

Not all of us have a Hmong market nearby, so pepper on-hand options: powdered black- to taste, but I’d say about 1 generous tablespoon. Coming to the South from the Northern regions, the Mister said he’d never seen so much black pepper used in his life.  And to keep the citrus note, sprinkle a little lemon or lime juice on before coating it.

Cracked pepper, use more, but keep it coarse.

With the green, I’ll end up using about 2 tablespoons.

Because I want this to remain fairly “dry” (rather than sitting in the “broth” the chicken processors inject into the meat) I’ll space it out on a baking sheet (or tin foil or one of those enameled pans with the raised center panel….whatever you’ve got on hand) With just the thinnest dab of grease so it doesn’t stick.

Cook for 20 to 30 minutes depending on your oven type, altitude and so on. But check it after 20 to test for doneness vs. dryness.

I’ll serve this with white rice and some black-eyed peas I made up for the Barley-SouthWest Salad (which the Mister found quite tasty) and a fresh sliced tomato topped with a dab of basil mayo. I’ve got some young carrots from the garden. I might steam them slightly, roast them in some coconut oil then toss them in a slightly sweet wheat-free tamari (also courtesy of the Hmong market) while the chicken is cooking.

If I had my druthers, as we are want to say in these parts, I’d use brown rice, skip the legumes and have a cucumber, onion and tomato salad, from today’s garden pickin’s or use a green veg instead; steamed Asparagus with garlic butter springs to mind. But, alas….

As with all the Lazy Cooks recipes, there are no guarantees. Only adventure.

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