Oktoberfest at your own house! (pretzel crusted chicken with arugula artichoke salad)

It is October and so many restaurants here are having Oktoberfest menus that make my inner German drool.  I saw this recipe for pretzel crusted chicken and just melted in my tracks.  I am a fool for arugula salads as well, so it was calling my name.  

I was going to make a white bean puree instead of cauliflower to change it up a little and decided against it so I could use it in a forthcoming recipe.  The salad and chicken were enough for me though.  I decide to use my favorite pretzels, the buffalo wing flavored Pretzel Crisps so that I could enjoy the leftovers before they go stale.  I know, my buffalo flavor obsession is out of hand!

This was really good, the mustard egg wash really helps to keep the chicken moist.  I really hate that word, moist, by the way, so oogie.  I am glad I used the buffalo flavored pretzels, it really gave the chicken a nice kick,  but regular pretzels will be fine too, trust me.  The salad is so simple and delicious, I have made it previously for many people and it is always a crowd pleaser.  Make this! And make it with the cauliflower puree to round it out.  I have a couple of versions: here, and here with fanciness.  You will not regret it.  Full recipe after the montage.

I feel like this picture calls for a dijon pan sauce in hind sight!
The cast.  That is chicken in the foil.  I ended up not using the beans as I told you.
Grind up the pretzels into crumbs.  I kicked myself for not breaking out my mini prep food processor for a smaller grind.
Assembly line time!
Place it in a hot cast iron skillet.
And get it nice and browned. I had to flip a few times to ensure the chicken was cooked.
Simple salad or arugula, artichoke hearts, shallot and lemon juice, divine!
Let it cool and drain a bit.
And then plate up some salty crunchy deliciousness!

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Arugula Artichoke Salad (adapted from Epicurious)

Vegetable oil, for frying (about 3 cups) (I didn't fry, but you should)
3 cups lightly crushed salted pretzel rods (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 (6-ounce) chicken cutlets, 1/4-inch thick, pounded if necessary (1 1/2 pounds total)
4 cups arugula or baby spinach
1 jar marinated artichokes, chopped
1 large shallot, sliced thin
1-2 lemons, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium-high heat until it registers 350°F on a deep-fat thermometer, or until a pinch of flour sizzles when sprinkled into the oil.  While oil is heating, add pretzels to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until some crumbs are ground fine but some are still coarse pea-sized pieces. Spread pretzel crumbs on a large plate or another rimmed baking sheet.  Place flour on another large plate or rimmed baking sheet and use a whisk to gently blend in 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until blended. Working with one cutlet at a time, coat with flour on both sides, then dip in egg (allowing excess to drip off), then dredge in pretzel crumbs, pressing them to adhere. Working in batches if necessary, fry cutlets until golden brown and fully cooked, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to wire rack to drain, and season them with salt.  Toss the arugula with the artichokes and shallots and squeeze line juice over and add a drizzle of olive oil. To serve, divide arugula among four plates and top with chicken cutlets.

Happy Cooking!


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