Almond Chicken Romesco

  • Yield: 4 servings


1ounce crusty french bread (about two slices) torn into 1 inch pieces
1/4cup whole raw almonds with skin
1large plum tomato, quartered
2cloves garlic, peeled
1/4cup roasted red peppers from a jar
1tablespoon red wine vinegar
1teaspoon paprika
1/4teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2teaspoon kosher salt
1/4cup extra virgin olive oil
1tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1teaspoon garlic
1/2cup chopped white onion
1cup extra long grain white rice
2cups chicken broth
1/4teaspoon saffron threads
3/4teaspoon salt
1/4teaspoon white pepper
1/2cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
4-- 6 ounce boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced in half lengthwise to make a total of 8 cutlets
3/4cup whole raw almonds with skin
1cup panko bread crumbs
1tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1teaspoon salt
1/4teaspoon pepper
1cup flour
1/2teaspoon cumin
1/2teaspoon paprika
1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-- eggs
2teaspoons water
1/4cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
6ounces Manchego cheese shredded
1/2cup pitted Spanish Olives, chopped
1tablespoon drained capers
-- Italian parsley sprigs for garnish


To make the romesco sauce, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the french bread, almonds, plum tomato and garlic on a cookie sheet, roast in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes until the almonds are toasted. Place all the roasted ingredients into the bowl of a food processor along with the roasted red peppers, red wine vinegar, paprika, cayenne pepper and kosher salt. Pulse several times to break up the almonds, then process until mostly smooth, pour the olive in while the processor is running and process until smooth, remove to a bowl and set aside.

To make the rice, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, saute the garlic and onions until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the rice and coat with the oil, pour in the chicken broth, add the saffron, salt and white pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until done, about 20 minutes. Once the rice is done, fold in the peas and Italian parsley. Cover to keep warm.

Lightly pound the chicken cutlets to thin them out slightly. In the bowl of a food processor, place the almonds and pulse several times to chop, add the panko bread crumbs, rosemary, salt and pepper, process until finely chopped. Place this breading mixture in a pie tin or shallow dish. In another shallow dish mix the flour, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper with a fork, and in a third shallow dish, whisk the eggs with the water until slightly frothy. To bread the chicken, dip each cutlet first into the flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dip into the eggs and then coat on each side with the almond breading. Lay the breaded cutlets on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Coat all cutlets.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Over medium high heat in a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil and the butter until very hot. Begin cooking the cutlets about three minutes per side or until nicely golden browned. Remove cutlets to cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven to continue cooking for about 5 minutes.

Once all the cutlets are cooked, spoon a generous tablespoon of the romesco sauce over each cutlet, spread to cover most of the top surface, sprinkle each cutlet with equal amounts of manchego cheese. To spread the cutlets out, you'll need to use two cookie sheets. Heat the broiler on high, one cookie sheet at a time, place the cutlets with sauce and cheese under the broiler until the cheese is melted, bubbly and starting to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Once all the cutlets are done, spoon the saffron rice on a serving platter; arrange the cooked cutlets down the center of the rice, overlapping slightly. Spoon a row of chopped olives and capers over the top of the chicken and garnish the platter with Italian parsley sprigs. Serves 4