Perfectly tender breaded chicken, covered in a crispy crust with za’atar and toasted sesame seeds. Comes together in less than 30 minutes. Be sure to see the suggestions for sides and salads.
In the first few pages of Michael Solmonov’s book, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, he describes his father’s chicken schnitzel as a thing of beauty. “…Schnitzal took me to a happy place where everything is beige and crunchy,” he says. A feeling we can relate to, can’t we?
I’ve adapted Michael’s recipe to make this za’atar breaded chicken. Admittedly, this is one for the days we crave comfort. Still, this is anything but your average limp, greasy breaded chicken.
Why this recipe for breaded chicken works
As you would expect of a breaded chicken recipe, this is very simple to make. We start by slicing two chicken breast halves into thinner cutlets, and then we pound them to tender perfection.
As the name implies, za’atar–a mixture of Mediterranean wild thyme and sesame seed–takes center-stage in flavoring the crust for this breaded chicken.
And no deep-frying required, these tender breaded chicken will cook in four minutes or so in a little bit of excellent extra virgin olive oil and ghee. And in those short minutes, we achieve a nice golden, extra crispy outer crust, while the chicken turns melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside. Perfection!
What to Serve with this Za’atar Breaded ChickenPrint
Best breaded chicken! Chicken cutlets are prepared to tender perfection and given a golden, perfectly crispy breading with za’atar and toasted sesame seed. Serve with tahini sauce and one of our simple Mediterranean salad.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb to 1.25 lb in total)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 3 to 4 tbsp Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour, if you prefer)
- 2 eggs whisked with 2 tbsp water (egg wash)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp plain bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 3 tbsp heaping za’atar spice
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Prepare the tahini sauce according to this recipe and the salad of your choice and set aside for now.
- Place chicken breast on a cutting board. Hold it flat with the palm of your left hand (non dominant hand), and using a sharp chef’s knife, carefully slice in half horizontally into two pieces. Do the same with the second chicken breast. You should end up with 4 cutlets at this point. (note, you can leave the chicken cutlets this size, or portion them to make 6 or 8 pieces in total. When pounded, they will expand.)
- Using a meat tenderizer (a kitchen hammer like this one), pound the chicken cutlets until thin.
- Pat chicken cutlets dry, and season well with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Prepare a dredging station. Place the flour and egg wash each in a shallow bowl. And in a third shallow bowl, placed on the other side of the egg wash, mix together the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, za’atar and garlic powder.
- Dredge each chicken cutlet first in the flour, then the egg wash, and finally in the bread crumb and za’atar mixture. Place prepared cutlets on a large tray for now.
- In a large 12-inch cast iron skillet, over medium heat, heat the ghee and olive oil (you want about 1/4 inch of the ghee and oil mixture in the skillet). When ghee/olive oil mixture is shimmering, add the breaded . Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. If needed, do this in batches, do not crowd the skillet. Place cooked cutlets on a large tray lined with paper towel very briefly to drain any excess oil.
- Serve hot with tahini sauce and your choice of Mediterranean salad or balela salad.
- Recipe adapted from Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.
- Recommended for this recipe! All-Natural Za’atar Spice Blend and our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives).
- SAVE! Try our Greek Olive Oil Bundle! Our Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle; or Create your own 6-pack or 3-pack from our all-natural or organic spice collections.
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