Crunchy golden chicken with a tender ricotta filling is gorgeous hot, but equally great served cold, sliced and made into a luxurious sandwich.
2-3 large (about 700g / 1½ lb) skinned and boned chicken breasts 200g (7 oz) ricotta 1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed 1 Tbsp creamy Dijonnaise mustard 1 Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon or ½ Tbsp dried tarragon 2 Tbsp panko or fresh breadcrumbs Finely grated zest ½ lemon Flaky sea salt Freshly ground black pepper Coating and frying ¼ cup standard flour 1 cup panko crumbs, crushed 2 medium (size 6) free-range eggs Salt ¼ cup olive oil 45g (3 Tbsp) butter
1 Cut chicken breasts into thickish pieces with a sharp knife (cut off the tenderloin strip and set aside, cut off the pointed top half of the breast, then slice the thicker half of the breast through the middle to form two pieces). Cut pockets for the stuffing in the chicken pieces. Slit the tenderloins open.
2 Mix ricotta, garlic, mustard, tarragon, panko crumbs, lemon zest, a few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stuff mixture into chicken pockets. For the tenderloins, spread a little stuffing over one side and seal with the other side.
3 Put the flour and panko crumbs on separate paper towels (or on plates). Beat the eggs with half a teaspoon of salt in a shallow dish. Dust the chicken pieces with flour, transferring them to a plate or paper towels. Dunk them in the egg, letting excess drip off, then coat with crumbs.
4 Heat oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over medium-high heat. Drop in the butter and while it is sizzling, add as many pieces of chicken as will fit. Lower the heat to medium and cook chicken until golden brown. Lower the heat if it gets a little fierce, and add more chicken when there is space. Transfer chicken to a rack set over a plate and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve hot, or cool and refrigerate.