Puttanesca Crusted Chicken with Fresh Tomato Relish

I’m so excited about this recipe because I love the flavors that go into a Puttanesca sauce (typically red onion, tomatoes, Kalamtata olives, capers and garlic) but I wanted to try it with a different twist instead of making it as a sauce to serve over pasta.  This chicken dish works so well to get all those flavors in every bite by first crusting the chicken in an almond, garlic, Parmesan cheese and Kalamata olive mixture and then browning it until it’s crisp on the outside and baking it to just finish the inside so it’s still moist.  And then, by serving this tomato relish on the side with all the remaining flavors with the capers and red onion and more of the garlic you get the perfect Puttanesca experience with every bite!  I used Marcona almonds which are whole Spanish almonds that are roasted with a little sea salt.  If you can’t find those you can replace them with whole blanched almonds and maybe add a little more salt. 

To get the crust to stick to the chicken I used a basic flour and egg method.  It’s important that you pat the chicken dry before you start dredging in the flour and then the egg and then the olive/almond mixture.  Also I did let it sit in the fridge for a bit before I cooked it.  And I was very careful when I flipped the chicken over to brown the other side.  But it worked out and we all really loved this crunchy, salty, flavorful dish.  I hope you do too!  This is a great dish for entertaining because so much of it can be done ahead of time and the chicken can sit in the fridge already coated.  And how many times can you say you’ve had an olive and almond crusted chicken?

  1. In the bowl of a large food processor place the almonds, garlic, and parmesan cheese and then pulse a few times.  Next add in the olives and pinch of red pepper flakes, and continue to pulse until the mixture is the texture of large breadcrumbs and no large bits of nuts or olives remains.  Remove and set aside in a shallow dish.
  2. Rinse the chicken, pat dry.  Whisk the egg with a teaspoon of water in a shallow dish and set aside.  Place the flour in another shallow dish. 
  3. Salt and pepper each piece of chicken and lightly dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess, and then in the egg wash mixture and finally in the almond and olive mixture.  Press down the olive and almond mixture to ensure a firm crust.  Continue with the remaining chicken and refrigerate to set.  Recommended time at least 30 minutes.
  4. Make the sauce by heating a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  When hot add the olive oil to the pan and then sauté the red onion and capers for 2-3 minutes, and then add garlic, pinch of red pepper flakes, and tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes more and then add in the wine.  Let the wine cook off and absorb into the tomatoes for another 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt (capers are salty) and pepper.  Set aside or refrigerate up to 1 day ahead.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Heat a large non-stick and oven friendly sauté pan over medium to medium high heat, add the olive oil to the pan and sauté the chicken in the pan for approximately 3 minutes to brown it, being careful not to move it so the crust doesn’t come off.  Using a thin spatula carefully flip and brown the other side as well.  Place the pan in the oven to finish cooking for about 10 more minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
  6. Carefully remove the chicken from the pan to a platter and place warm tomato relish around the plate and garnish with chopped red onion and parsley.

4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts

¾ cup Marcona (Spanish) almonds, or regular whole, blanched almonds

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

2/3 cup Kalamata olives

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 egg

¼ cup all purpose flour

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt & Pepper

Tomato Relish

4 large vine ripened tomatoes, cored and chopped

½ cup red onion, diced plus more for garnish

1 Tablespoon capers

2 cloves garlic, diced

Pinch red pepper flakes

½ cup dry white wine

1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Salt & Pepper

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