Panko flakes and homemade ranch dressing are individually two wonderful things to have in your kitchen. But together in the same dish is even better, and that’s what you have with panko chicken breasts with ranch dressing. The crispiness of the panko-coated chicken fried in a pan, topped with the creamy, herby and tangy flavors of the ranch dressing are an unbeatable combo. And to top it all off, add some thinly sliced radishes and cucumber that are quick-pickled and you have a perfect meal!
If you’re not familiar with panko flakes, they are a type of bread crumb that are much lighter, have a much larger crumb and cook up much crispier than regular bread crumbs. They are often used in Japanese cooking (for example, for tonkatsu), and make a great coating for chicken, pork cutlets, or even fish.
Time to prepare: 45 mins
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk (or substitute 1/2 cup cream or half-n-half mixed with 1.5 tsp vinegar)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced white or yellow onion
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
1/2 of a cucumber
2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 large or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup panko flakes
salt & pepper
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
To begin, make the ranch dressing. In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, buttermilk (or milk/vinegar substitute), garlic, onion and herbs. Salt & pepper to taste, and set aside.
Next, make the pickled cucumber and radish. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, slice the cucumber lengthwise in very thin ribbons. Slice the radishes very thinly. In a bowl, mix together the water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the vegetables and set aside (they’ll be pickled enough once the chicken is cooked).
Now prepare your bowls for dredging the chicken. In the first of three bowls, put the flour. In the second, whisk the eggs until fully blended. In the third, put the panko flakes, then season all 3 bowls with salt and pepper. Put them next to your stove where you will be cooking with the panko closest to the stove, the egg in the middle, and the flour furthest from the stove.
Prepare your chicken by pounding the chicken to 1/4″ thickness (I usually do this between 2 sheets of saran wrap with a meat pounder like the below or you can use the smooth side of a 2-sided meat tenderizer).
If you’re using one large breast (usually about .75 to 1 pound in weight), pound it first and then cut it in half to make two servings. If using two small breasts, pound them individually. Salt & pepper both sides of the chicken.
Heat the vegetable or canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, take a chicken breast, dredge first in the flour, then dip in the egg to thoroughly cover the flour, then put in the panko flakes and press to get them to adhere to the chicken on both sides. Put immediately into the hot oil, and repeat with the second piece of chicken. Cook about 2 minutes per side until crisp and browned. Remove to a cooling rack for a minute or so.
To serve, place a chicken breast on the plate, spoon some of the ranch dressing diagonally across the chicken. Scoop half of the cucumber and radishes from the pickling liquid (squeeze gently to get most of the liquid out), and lay on the ranch dressing decoratively. Serve immediately, with additional ranch dressing on the side. (And keep any leftover ranch for salad dressing, a dip for vegetables, or some other use…it’s too good to waste!)