This lean poultry recipe with almonds and flax features a wonderful crust with no frying, and it all adds up to a dish with exceptional nutritional value and flavor.
Take this opportunity to discover flax, which unfortunately is underused in America, perhaps because home cooks are not acquainted with its value in cooking and for health. Treasured throughout the Roman Empire for its healing properties, flax was one of the original medicines used by Hippocrates.
Today, a couple of its best-kept secrets are that it's easy to use and it adds texture and taste to many recipes. Because it is high in fat, flax also adds calories, but research suggests that the healthy fats - omega 3s - and other compounds called lignans in flax may help protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.
The addition of almond meal or crushed nuts to the recipe also delivers great nutrition and richness. The use of almonds dates back over 2,000 years. Although their exact ancestry is unknown, almonds may have originated in China and Central Asia. They were highly valued in Egyptian breads.
To add more almond flavor, almond butter can be part of the marinade, along with garlic and some classic herbs. The cayenne pepper and paprika add a little zest - or a lot depending on your taste. The result is an unexpectedly tasty and nutritious way to enjoy chicken. So expand your menu and try something new featuring almonds and fabulous flax.
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Chicken Crusted with Almond and Flax
Makes 4 servings.
- 4 (4-oz.) boneless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup almond meal (crushed almonds may be substituted)
- 2 Tbsp. ground flax meal
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. almond butter, optional
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using kitchen mallet, pound breasts uniformly flat, if desired.
- Combine almond and flax meal and salt in small bowl and stir to mix uniformly.
- Combine oil, almond butter (if using), lemon juice, garlic and all spices and herbs in medium bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add chicken to mixture and let marinate for at least 5 minutes.
- Remove chicken from marinade and place on baking dish. Sprinkle half the almond-flax mixture evenly over chicken. Pat each breast with your hand to ensure it adheres and forms a crust. Gently turn over each breast, being careful not to disturb coating, and repeat the process using remaining almond-flax mixture.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees when inserted into the chicken.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
11g total fat
1.5g saturated fat
2g dietary fiber