I'm a big believer in tarting up the basics.
And when it comes to weeknight cooking, my most basic of basics is the boneless, skinless chicken breast. I can do practically anything I want to it, season it however I like, cook it however I like. And providing I don't overcook it, it always emerges a winner.
For this recipe, I was inspired by dukka, a classic Egyptian spice blend typically sprinkled on cooked meats and vegetables. I came up with my own easy-to-make version, because I'm guessing the chances of stumbling upon it in the typical Amer-ican grocery store are slim.
AP Photo - - Dukka is a classic Egyptian spice. I came up with my own, easy-to-make version since the likelihood of stumbling across it in a typical American grocery store is slim.
AP Photo - - Chicken Dukka is a flavorful presentation to dress up those ordinary chicken breasts.
I then used the dukka to dress pan-fried chicken cutlets served over bread spread with hummus. The entire thing then gets topped with chopped hard-cooked egg. It probably sounds a little unusual, but the result is tremendously good. I've served it to numerous people who were skeptical, but quickly won over.
To save a little more time, you can purchase precooked hard-cooked eggs.
Start to finish: 30 minutes. Serves 4.
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1/4 pounds)
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
16-ounce tub hummus
12-inch baguette, sliced into 8 long oblongs
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
To make the dukka, in a mortar and pestle or small coffee grinder, combine the sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the cumin, peppercorns and paprika. Crush or grind well. Set aside.
One at a time lay each
chicken breast on a cutting surface and slice across the center horizontally to create 2 thin halves. Sprinkle each cutlet on all sides with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the chicken cutlets and cook for 4 minutes per side, or until an instant thermometer registers 165 F.
Spread a bit of the hummus over each piece of bread, then top with a piece of chicken. Spoon diced egg over the chicken, then sprinkle with the dukka.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 576 calories; 219 calories from fat (38 percent of total calories); 24 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 299 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate; 47 g protein; 8 g fiber; 1,049 mg sodium.