I’ve prepared Julia Child’s recipe for Deviled Chicken with Mustard and Breadcrumb Coating ever since the publication of her book The Way to Cook, in 1989. The original recipe uses a whole butterflied chicken, but I’ve adapted it for weeknights using quick-cooking chicken cutlets.
Chicken cutlets are standard chicken breasts cut in half horizontally. You can purchase chicken cutlets, fresh or frozen, at most supermarkets, but the price is usually much higher than regular boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. When chicken is on sale, I buy the boneless chicken breasts, cut them into cutlets and then freeze them for later use.
Dijon mustard is spread on top of each cutlet to add flavor and help a breadcrumb coating stick to the chicken. If you don’t like mustard, you can substitute reduced-fat mayonnaise.
For the topping, you’ll combine breadcrumbs with melted butter, hot pepper sauce, dried tarragon, salt and pepper. I use fresh breadcrumbs from a day-old baguette when making this dish at home, but you can use panko breadcrumbs for a crunchier version.
Panko is a product that’s fairly new to supermarket shelves. These Japanese breadcrumbs are very crisp. Panko used to be available only in the Asian ingredients aisle, but it’s now sold in the baking aisle next to other breadcrumbs. Panko comes in a variety of flavors, seasoned with Italian herbs or lemon-pepper. You’ll want to use plain panko if you substitute it for fresh breadcrumbs in this recipe.
The thin cutlets bake in just 20 minutes. If you’d like to use standard boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, add 10 to 15 minutes to the baking time.
Mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus can complete your menu.
BAKED DEVILED CHICKEN CUTLETS
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut horizontally into 2 cutlets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ teaspoon dried tarragon or 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon hot sauce
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Season chicken cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper. Spread one side of each cutlet with some of the mustard and place it, mustard side up, onto baking sheet.
Combine breadcrumbs or panko with the melted butter, tarragon and hot sauce in a small bowl. Press some of the mixture onto the mustard-coated side of each cutlet. Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until topping is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Makes 6 servings.