Ginger-Pistachio Encrusted Chicken

Sweet with a bite: Ginger-Pistachio Encrusted Chicken

Until I began writing a weekly food column in late 2003, my flavor pairings were predictable and bland.

I liked classic dishes with some sort of twist, but I was never very adventurous in the kitchen. My husband is a culinary purist, for one thing, and he expects certain dishes to taste the way they always taste.

But food writers received feature packets from savvy agencies and McCormick Spices had one of the best. I looked forward to McCormick's annual flavor forecast, which taught me how to pair seemingly conflicting flavors to produce a fantastic burst of taste.

This dish pairs crystallized ginger with salted pistachios in a crunchy covering. A splash of honey-tangerine sauce adds a finishing touch.

Ginger-Pistachio Encrusted Chicken with Tangerine Sauce
  • 3/4 cup shelled salted pistachio nuts
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup tangerine or orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pistachio nuts and ginger in a hand chopper or processor. Chop until thorough blended and place in a low shallow dish or plate

Dip chicken in egg whites and roll in pistachio-ginger mixture. Coat evenly. Place in shallow, foil-lined or greased oven dish. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

While the chicken is cooking, blend orange juice, honey and soy sauce. The recipes recommends pouring the sauce before serving. I thought it was a bit thin, so I poured in on the chicken about 5 minute or so before I removed it from the oven. The heat will thicken the sauce.

“Oh my,” said my husband. “This is good. Sweetness with bite.”

Plain Vichy carrots, cooked with just sugar and water, were the perfect side dish. For dessert: Baked pear, flavored with brown sugar and cinnamon, topped with roasted walnuts, and finished with a dollop of mascarpone cheese sweetened with orange honey.

It was, we agreed, the perfect mid-winter meal, with just a hint of spring.


Tanna said…
OMG!! That is spectacular!
Nicole said…
Oh my goodness, this is the second pistachio-crusted chicken recipe I've seen lately!! Looks delicious! The other one is here if you're interested :-)
Mimi said…
Tanna, it was spectacular tasting, too. Wish my photo showed it off more.

Nicole, I love My Husband Cooks — thanks for reminded me where I saw pistachio paired with chicken. Love their photos, too!
Melissa said…
Mimi, I am going to try that recipe for sure, I have some Pistache in the cupboard right NOW!!
Lovely photos!
Lu said…
MMMMMM, MMMMimmmmmi. This is on the "to do" list. And, may I say your photos are scrumptious (again) but not only the food shots. The SW France photo is yummy too!
Mimi said…
Hi Melissa! I love your blog - was just there lurking a few days ago.

Lu, something about this — the ginger, I think — made me think of my mother's sunny yellow kitchen. Her bread box used to smell of ginger. It was definitely tasty. Quick, too.
lee said…
Hey, it was pretty cold in WI yesterday! It didn't help that I left my lights on and killed the battery in my car and had to sit there shivering until AAA came to the rescue!
Mimi said…
Lee, sometimes its warmer here on the tundra than in Madison. It's the Lake Effect, I think.

Like your blog - thanks for introducing yourself. I am always happy to link to another Wisconsin blog.

Love Madison — lived there for 10 years.
FarmgirlCyn said…
Chicken really is a blank canvas...anything goes...sweet, sour, baked, broiled, souped, casseroled...I LOVE CHICKEN. Don't think I've met a chicken dish I didn't like. This one sounds especially delicious. Now to go find some pistachios!
Mimi said…
I'm with you on chicken. I've noticed, too, that French cookbooks usually offer a variety of chicken recipes. Some are fairly easy, too.

Hmm... how to fix it tonight?
Anonymous said…
Sigh. Looking at that first picture was like going on a vacation.

Ginger and pistachio - what an amazing idea!
Mimi said…
Madeline, it was truly a dream vacation. Nothing went wrong! Scary, isn't it?

BTW, the chicken was good the next day, too.
Lu said…
Mimi, I have unsalted pistachios in the house. Do you think I can use those and just sprinkle some fleur de sel on the finished chicken? Or do you think the salt needs to marry the pistachio and ginger during cooking? Thanks!
Mimi said…
The recipes did specify salted pistachios. But you could try it — I would. What have you got to lose?

You can always try it again with salted pistachios.

I had a small peice of chicken left today and I sliced it and layered it on a hard role with mayo. Great!
Anonymous said…
Excuse me a minute while I salivate!!! Your husband is a lucky man, Mimi.

It's pretty warm here, too. We've been going back and forth between cold front and hot waves.
Mimi said…
It reached 40 today here — again. People are not even wearing winter coats.
cityfarmer said…
Pistahios abound at Costco....already shelled.
Tanna said…
With my inability to read, I missed the salted part of the pistachio and salted the chicken instead. This is really good chicken! Very moist too and so easy to fix!
Mimi said…
Pistachios are everywhere and in lots of recipes. Alas, no Costoco on the tundra.

Any dish I can make on a work night gets made again - and again, Tanna.
Terri said…
This recipe sounds very unusual and I can almost taste the pistachios.
That photo is gorgeous of your friend's those lilac shutters. It has such an "old world" feel to it.
Mimi said…
Terri, my friend was reluctant to go with that color. But the local painter she hired told her it would fade with time. The idea, I am told, with blue-hued shutters is to keep the flies away. The house is nearly 300 years old. But the owner has great style, and the interior is charming — a blend of old and new.
Wife said…
Mimi, this looks and sounds delicious! I'll have to have my husband make it -- we're still sitting on about 5 cups of pistachios after his mass experimenting with them... and this sweet version of chicken is making my stomach growl! Plus, it sounds healthier than fried chicken!
Mimi said…
You two started the pistachio thing, W! I saw them everywhere I shopped today (in the nearest urban area). In fact, supplies were dwindling at the grocery store I went to. How did you two latch on to this pistachio thing before the rest of us?
Jann said…
i just finished dinner and now after reading this, i am hungry again!This looks delicious!!
Mimi said…
Oh my, was it good. I think we'll have it often. One thing about blogging, our kitchen repertoire is expanding. So are our wastelines, I fear.

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