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Lemon Chicken

Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 35 minutes

For the longest time torikatsu chicken was one of my favorite Japanese takeout items. In fact, I loved this dish so much that I pretended it wasn’t fried. Alas, one day I confirmed the awful truth. Heartbroken, I decided to invent a non-fried version and add lemon to it. Here it is. The chicken comes out very moist from the marinade and crunchy from the coating.

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 to 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless, thin-sliced chicken breast cutlets
1/3 cup Wondra or unbleached all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups packaged panko bread crumbs or panko from Bread Crumbs Four Ways (recipe follows, add prep time)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
Lemon slices for garnish

Combine the lemon juice and soy sauce in a large zippered plastic bag. Add the chicken and let marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature, turning occasionally.

Set up 3 bowls, one filled with the flour seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to taste, a second with the beaten eggs, and a third with the panko bread crumbs mixed with the sesame seeds. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting all the liquid drip off; discard the marinade. Coat the chicken lightly with the flour, then dip it in the egg, letting the excess drip off. Coat it well with the panko mixture.

Heat half the oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot; reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken. Saute for 6 minutes and add the remaining oil. Turn the chicken and saute for 6 minutes more or until browned on the second side and just cooked through.

Panko Bread Crumbs: Place 4 slices (about 4 ounces) homemade-style white toasting bread on a wire rack and set aside, uncovered, 1 hour, turning once.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Grate the bread by hand on the coarsest side of a metal grater. Spread the crumbs out on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure they don’t begin to brown. Turn off the oven and allow the crumbs to continue to dry as the oven cools. Once they are dry, store the crumbs in an airtight container and use within two months. Makes about 1 cup; Hands-on time: 4 minutes; Total preparation time: 24 minutes plus drying time.

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Sara's Weeknight Meals is produced by Silver Plume Productions and WETA Washington, DC, and distributed by American Public Television (APT) to public broadcasting stations nationwide. Corporate funding is provided by Best Buy, Gallo and King Arthur Flour. |

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