Whether you’re looking for something special for Mother’s Day or simply a spring salad to enjoy, here’s a recipe you won’t want to miss: Almond-Crusted Chicken with Seasonal Berries and Micro Greens. In addition to tasting delicious, this meal includes a lot of healthy nutrients and is easy to revise based on dietary needs like gluten free (GF) substitutions.

Inspiration: Chicken Crusted with Almonds

What inspired this recipe? One of my go-to chicken recipes these days is chicken cutlets crusted with almonds, but sometimes I like a lighter meal. I’ve found that adding thin strips of chicken to a mixed green salad with seasonal berries is the perfect recipe for Sunday brunch, spring dinner or a special occasion like Mother’s Day.

About Micro Greens & Lettuce

From butterhead or cabbage to romaine or stem lettuce, there are all sorts of leafy greens that can form the base of your salad quite nicely.

From butterhead or cabbage to romaine or stem lettuce, there are all sorts of leafy greens that can form the base of your salad quite nicely.

Since we visit our favorite farmers market most weekends, it’s easy to get inspired using the local produce, especially micro greens. Although you can also use a standard spring mix or baby arugula from your supermarket as your salad base, why not try some other heirloom lettuces? From butterhead or cabbage to romaine or stem lettuce, there are all sorts of leafy greens that can form the base of your salad quite nicely.

Of course, you also want to think about the micro greens I mentioned above (they’re mixed in with the lettuce). Why not try pea shoots or micro-basil in your salad?

Almond-Crusted Chicken with Seasonal Berries and Micro Greens Mother’s Day Recipe

Almond-Crusted Chicken Recipe

The first step is to make the chicken:

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin and sliced to make 4 cutlets
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup panko or Japanese-style dry breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (or other all-purpose seasoning)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, coconut oil or other oil of choice

Directions

Use 3 bowls or plates to set-up what I call a ‘dredging station:’

  • 1st bowl: Flour, salt and pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite all-purpose seasoning
  • 2nd bowl: Eggs, 2 Tablespoons water or milk, salt and pepper
  • 3rd bowl: Ground almonds, panko, salt and pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite all-purpose seasoning

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

One by one, coat your cutlets with flour, then dip in the egg mixture, then the almond mixture. Lay out on a sheet pan or plate.

Heat a large non-stick skillet that is oven-safe (or use a cast iron pan on your stove-top) on medium heat. When hot, add oil and swirl in your pan. Do not crowd your pan – you want to get a good sear on the chicken. Add 2 cutlets at a time and pan sauté for approximately 2 minutes until browned. Flip over and cook another 2 minutes.

Set aside cooked chicken and sauté remaining cutlets. Add additional oil, if needed. If pan gets too hot and there are too many browned bits, wipe out the pan and add new oil. Use an instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer to check the temperature; you want to remove the chicken from the heat once the temperature reads 155 degrees.

Depending on the thickness of your cutlets you may need to cook the cutlets a little more. I usually finish mine in the oven:

Using the same hot pan, add all cooked cutlets to your oven-safe pan and place in your pre-heated oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until cooked through to 155 degrees. Remove from heat, place cutlets on a plate and cover with foil. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Final temperature should read a minimum of 160 degrees.

Spring Salad Recipe

Berries can take your spring salad up a notch.

Berries can take your spring salad up a notch.

Here’s how to make the salad to serve 4:

Ingredients

  • Use 4 cups mixed lettuce/salad greens torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup micro greens of your choice
  • 1/2 pint sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 pint blackberries
  • 1/2 pint raspberries
  • 4 oz. crumbled blue cheese, if desired
  • 4 almond-crusted chicken cutlets, cut into strips and at room temperature

Layer the salad on a plate, starting at the top of the ingredient list and working your way down to the bottom. Drizzle with Honey-Pear Dressing (recipe below).

Honey-Pear Dressing

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons pear nectar

Whisk together all ingredients. Drizzle over salad greens.

Chef’s notes:

  1. I usually have my butcher pound and cut my boneless chicken breasts into 2 or 3 cutlets. I’ve also used chicken tenders as alternative, especially if I want to add the chicken to a salad. If not using the tenders, then I would cut the cooked chicken cutlets into thin strips before adding to the greens of your choice.
  2. Avoiding almonds? You can also substitute ground cashews or chopped macadamia nuts in this recipe with equal success. I’ve used all three, depending on the food preferences of my clients.
  3. Make it gluten free (GF) by substituting your favorite GF flour for the all purpose flour. You can use white rice flour, brown rice flour, coconut flour or a GF blend of your choice. These days, you can even purchase GF panko.
  4. What is pear nectar? This is what you’ll find on your grocery shelf.
  5. If desired, in place of the purchased pear nectar you could roast a fresh pear in your oven:
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    • Peel and cut a pear in half. Remove the seeds.
    • Brush with 1 Tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet.
    • Roast in oven 10-15 minutes, until soft and browned. Purée until smooth.
    • Add 3 Tablespoons of purée to the above ingredients.

Click here to download and print the recipe.

Have you decided what you’re making for Mother’s Day yet? Share your plans with me via Facebook, Twitter, Google + or any of my other social media accounts!

Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.

Photo Credit: lobster20 and Robert Cochrane via freedigitalphotos.net