Crispy Almond Chicken with Pineapple-Apricot Sauce

The other night was one of those nights where I just needed to pull together a fast, simple dinner–using whatever random ingredients I had on hand, because I hadn’t gone shopping in a while. I had some pineapple-apricot preserves to use, and remembered the delicious sauce I made for my brisket on St. Patty’s. A little while ago I stumbled on my favorite chicken recipe of all time! A carabba’s parmesan chicken–it’s juicy and tender, crisp and crunchy, a little cheesy, and perfectly seasoned; so I thought i’d play around with it, and add some almond slivers, to make an almond chicken recipe. To me, almonds and apricots are just a delicious, classic pairing. I always find it ironic that the meals I think long and hard about, and carefully plan for, sometimes turn out horrible, and the recipes I spontaneously pull-together on the spot turn out SO delicious!! I know the sauce sounds a little weird–pairing two things you would NEVER think would work together, but you’ll just have to trust me that these really do!! The almond chicken came out even better than the original–with a little added flavor and crunch, and the sweet, zing-y pineapple-apricot sauce on top, was perfect with it! {I’m using my favorite made up word again!} Maybe I should just let the pictures do the talking! I hope you guys love this recipe, because it’s one of my family’s new fave’s!

{for the chicken: adapted from Carrabba’s Italian Grill}
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthways {to make thin}
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups panko
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
3 Tbsp olive oil
{for the pineapple-apricot sauce}
1 cup apricot pineapple preserves
4 Tbsp grainy dijon mustard

Couscous and fresh parsley to serve

Lightly pound each chicken breast to about 1/2″ thickness. Add the panko, almonds and parmesan to a shallow dish, and 2 beaten eggs to another. Dip the chicken in the eggs, then cover well in the panko-almond mixture, and place on a baking tray.

Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully add the chicken and cook until golden brown, turning after 4-5 minutes and adjusting the heat as needed so the chicken cooks steadily without over-browining, about 10 minutes.

Add the apricot-pineapple preserves to a small saucepan, heat until a sauce-like consistency, and stir in the mustard. Plate the couscous and chicken, and pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley if desired.

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