My grandsons call anything fried with breadcrumbs Gruffalo fingers. It started as a way of encouraging them to eat fish and spread to chicken and was at the back of my mind when I turned four chicken thigh fillets into a grown up version. The bumpy unevenly shaped pieces of chicken were briefly bashed between parchment paper, dusted with flour, one side spread with Dijon mustard and then given the egg and breadcrumb treatment the crumb augmented with Parmesan. Because they were thicker than escalopes, the frying needs to be carefully judged so the chicken cooks through but the crumbs don’t burn. I served them with pale little plum tomatoes (www.thetomatostall.co.uk) slow-roasted with crushed garlic and a decent splash of best olive oil and finished with basil. They looked liked giant beans and tasted intensely tomato; a sort of unstructured tomato sauce. With Cornish Earlies (@seasonal_spuds hashtag CornishNewpotatoes) – grown just above Porthleven and the Maris peer variety – this was simple to make and a feast to eat.
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 10 min
4 chicken thigh fillets
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp sunflower or similar oil
Unfurl the chicken, removing skin and any fat as necessary. Slice down the pieces making 3 or 4 approximately similar-sized pieces. Pat dry with kitchen paper and place spaced apart on a large piece of kitchen parchment. Cover with a second piece. Use a rolling pin and bash a few times to flatten slightly. Remove the top sheet, dust the pieces with flour, shake off excess turn and repeat. Transfer to a large plate (I used the removed sheet of parchment), using a knife, smear the exposed surface with mustard. Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl and spread the crumbs mixed with 2 tbsp Parmesan on a large plate/chopping board. Using tongs, swipe one chicken piece at a time through the egg and then onto the crumbs, transferring to a plate. Either chill covered with a stretch of clingfilm or cook immediately by heating the oil in a spacious frying pan over a medium heat. Lay out the pieces, cook for a couple of minutes until you can see crusty edges, turn, repeat then lower the temperature and cook gently for a couple of minutes a side until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain, serve dusted with remaining Parmesan.