Crunchy Buckwheat Hazelnut Chicken

chicken breast with hazelnut buckwheat crust and cranberry salad dressing

Buckwheat! Not wheat at all, this grain-like seed is high in nutrients and a bit sour in flavor. When ground, its lovely dove-gray appearance would make for a fine paint color. The inside of the seed pods, or the groats, are what we’re after; and here we use them for a crunchy coating. This easy weeknight meal is sure to become a regular at your table, as it has for us. The recipe also works using boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts. Use the smooth back of a heavy pan or a metal meat tenderizer to pound the chicken nice and thin. The Pink Vinaigrette is meant to both coat the greens and be served to the side of the chicken as a dipping sauce.

Serves 4

  • 12cup buckwheat groats (3 ounces)
  • 1teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 12teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1cup hazelnuts (5 ounces)
  • 23cup mayonnaise
  • 12teaspoon each fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 14teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 46-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded 14-inch thin
  • 8cups wild or baby greens (5 ounces)
  • 3tablespoons canola oil
  • 4tablespoons butter
  • Pink Vinaigrette, for serving (recipe below)
  • Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place an empty sheet pan fitted with a wire rack on the center rack of the oven. Pulse buckwheat, salt, and pepper in a food processor until the groats are lightly crushed (pulse about 5 times). Add hazelnuts and pulse to pulverize the mixture into a rough meal, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a large plate.
  • 2
  • Combine mayonnaise, salt, pepper, cayenne, and rosemary with a whisk in a medium bowl. Place chicken pieces in the bowl, toss to coat thoroughly. Remove excess, coat each piece of chicken with the hazelnut mixture, pressing to adhere. Tap lightly to remove excess, set coated chicken aside in a single layer on a sheet pan or clean countertop.
  • 3
  • Heat 1½ tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick or heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Add half of the chicken, sauté until deep golden brown and the internal temperature registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the warm sheet pan in the oven to keep warm until serving. Repeat with remaining chicken.


Pink Vinaigrette

  • 14cup fresh or frozen cranberries (0.5 ounces)
  • 2tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 112teaspoons sugar
  • 1teaspoon dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt
  • 14cup hazelnut or extra virgin olive oil
  • Purée cranberries, vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt in a blender until smooth. With the blender running, gradually add the oil. Blend on high until mixture is smooth and emulsified.
  • 2
  • Toss the salad greens with two tablespoons of the vinaigrette, serve additional dressing to the side with the chicken.