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Pistachio-Crusted Chicken
with Coconut-Chili-Ginger Sauce

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken with Coconut-Chili-Ginger Sauce"This dish is one of my most frequently requested new dishes. Everyone asks for seconds. We have served it over and over again to our guests. If you love the flavors of Asia, this is right up your pad Thai alley. My sous chef, Rey Villalobos, crusts his chicken ahead of time and refrigerates it, which he says makes the crust stay on better. The sauce is my most famous. I've even had people tell me they could drink this sauce. It can be made ahead of time because it keeps well in the refrigerator." - Chef Art Smith.

Recipe Ingredients:

Coconut-Chili-Ginger Sauce:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
2 blades lemongrass, chopped
3 (1/2-inch) piece, fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 cup sweet white wine
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons Chinese black bean chili sauce
1 (8-ounce) can coconut milk
1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken:
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 quart buttermilk
1 pound salted pistachios, shelled and toasted
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh thyme
1/3 cup chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Grape seed oil to taste

Lo Mein Noodles:
4 large shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and julienned
4 stalks asparagus, cleaned, blanched and julienned
1/2 cup julienned yellow squash
1/2 cup julienned zucchini squash
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoon Mae Ploy sweet and sour sauce
1/4 teaspoon sriracha chile paste
Salt and pepper to taste
8 to 12 ounces fresh lo mien noodles (commonly found in the refrigerator section of an Asian grocery store)

Cooking Directions:

  1. For the Sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the tablespoon of butter, the shallots, lemongrass, ginger slices and wine. Reduce to half. Add the broth, red curry paste and Chinese black bean chili sauce and reduce to half again. Add the coconut milk and reduce to half a third time. Remove from the heat and whisk the bits of butter into the sauce until all the butter has been incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. If you reheat, do not allow the sauce to boil or the butter will separate.
  2. For the Chicken: Cut the chicken breasts in half. With a meat mallet pound until 1/4-inch thick and place in a nonreactive bowl. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken, cover, and let sit for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  3. In a food processor, place half of the pistachios, half of the Parmesan cheese, and half of the herbs. Pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture is finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat this step with the rest of the pistachios and combine with the other pistachio mixture.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C).
  5. Place the flour in another bowl and season it with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and prepare it for assembly.
  6. Preheat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat with a thin coating of grape seed oil.
  7. Remove one breast, shake off any excess buttermilk and dust the breast with flour on each side. Dip only one side of the chicken breast in the buttermilk and press pistachios onto that side. Repeat that step with all of the chicken.
  8. Place the chicken in the sauté pan, pistachio side down, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. Place in the oven to finish cooking for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove, let rest for 5 minutes and then slice to serve with the Coconut-Chile-Ginger Sauce and the prepared noodles.
  9. For the Noodles: Place the canola oil in a preheated sauté pan with the julienned vegetables and sauté for 1 minute. Add the sweet and sour sauce, srirracha chile paste and lo mien noodles. Continue to cook until the noodles are just hot and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of www.westernpistachio.org and www.sm-supperclub.com; through ECES, Inc., Electronic Color Editorial Services.