Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers

My father in law just gave my husband a gallon bag of pecans that he had recently shelled from a crop at a friend’s pecan orchard.  Those are some fresh pecans! I had a couple of chicken breasts on hand that I purchased from our farmers’ market where they sell locally raised poultry.  I love it when I can make dinner from mostly local ingredients. Don’t skip the lemon zest in this; the combination of pecans and lemon is really terrific. This is a riff on a recipe for pecan crusted catfish that I saw at Serious Eats.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness and cut into strips about 1 inch wide
1 cup DRY wheat-free breadcrumbs
2 cups chopped pecan pieces
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 large egg
1/2 cup wheat-free flour (I used sorghum)
1/4 cup melted clarified butter
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Combine the breadcrumbs and nuts in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are chopped very fine. Dump the nut mixture into a pie dish and combine with the zest of the lemon and add a significant amount of freshly ground black pepper. I think I used about a half tablespoon. In a separate pie dish, beat the egg together with the lemon juice.  Put the flour onto a plate and combine with about a teaspoon of salt.  Take a strip of chicken and dredge it through the flour, shaking off the excess.  Then coat it with the egg mixture, letting the excess drip back into the pie dish.  Finally, roll it in the pecan mixture and place it in a glass baking dish.  If the pecan mixture doesn’t stick well, it may be that you did not use dry breadcrumbs.  You can add a little of the flour to the nut mixture to help make it stick better.  Coat all of the chicken pieces in this manner.  Let them sit for about 15 minutes before proceeding. When ready to put them in the oven, drizzle a little melted butter over each piece of chicken. Bake in the hot oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until done.

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