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Panko-Crusted Chicken with Watercress Salad and Buttermilk Dressing

Serve up this satisfying meal for under $20 with a bit of creativity (make your own buttermilk!) and smart shopping strategies (buy chicken in bulk). This recipe comes from TV chef Thomas Joseph.

Photography: Rob Tannenbaum

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, February 2012


For the Dressing and Salad

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch watercress, trimmed
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

For the Chicken

  • 2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • Vegetable oil
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Make the dressing and salad: In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and lemon juice; let stand until milk thickens, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest, mayonnaise, shallots, thyme, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Place watercress, parsley leaves, and radishes in a large bowl. Toss to combine; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  3. Make the chicken: Halve each breast horizontally. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, place chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound until 1/4-inch thick. Remove from plastic wrap and set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.

  4. Fill a large high-sided skillet with enough vegetable oil so that it comes 1/2-inch up sides of skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Place flour and eggs each in separate shallow dishes. Place panko in a third shallow dish; add lemon zest and thyme and stir to combine. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge each piece first in flour, then in egg, and finally in panko mixture, ensuring each piece is fully coated; shake off any excess.

  5. Transfer chicken to hot oil and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack; squeeze lemon over chicken and season with salt.

  6. Divide chicken among four plates. Top with salad and serve with dressing.

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