Pecan Crusted Chicken with Bacon


Gorgeous pecan crusted chicken! This is a really great way to dress up chicken and change things up.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 slices bacon
Kosher salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 tbsp. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter , cut into 2 pieces
3 small shallots , minced (about 5 tbsp.)
1 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves (or 1 tsp. dry parsley)
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 large eggs
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 F. Using fork, poke thickest half of each breast 5 to 6 times. Place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and evenly sprinkle each breast with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Set aside.

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and pour off and discard all but 2 tbsp. bacon fat. When bacon is cool enough to handle, finely chop.
Process pecans in food processor until they resemble coarse meal, about 21-second pulses. Heat butter in 12-inch skillet with reserved bacon fat over medium heat; cook, swirling pan constantly, until butter turns golden brown and has nutty aroma, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add shallots and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add panko and ground pecans; cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer panko mixture to rimmed baking sheet and stir in reserved bacon, parsley, and cayenne.

Lightly beat eggs, mustard, and black pepper together in shallow dish or pie plate. Place flour in second shallow dish or pie plate. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towel. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dredge chicken breast in flour, shaking off excess, then coat with egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Coat all sides of chicken breast with panko mixture, pressing gently so that crumbs adhere. Transfer breaded chicken to clean wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 F, 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.