Grown-Up Chicken Nuggets with Herb and Radish Salad

Cookbook author Molly Stevens fillets chicken breast for crispy grown-up chicken nuggets dredged in panko and fried in olive oil and butter. Flattening chicken to even thickness (1/3 inch) is paramount: If the chicken is too thick, it takes too long to cook, and you risk scorching the coating before the interior is done; if too thin, it'll dry out before the breading has time to brown. The key to frying them is monitoring the heat; the nuggets should sizzle when you lower them into the pan. If the heat is too low, the breading will absorb the fat and become soggy. If it's too high, the outside will scorch before the inside cooks through. Stevens's favorite way to serve these chicken nuggets is to stack them alongside a bright and punchy herb and radish salad dressed in a lemon vinaigrette. If you like, you can also skip making nuggets and fry the cutlets whole—they're fantastic in sandwiches.

Grown-Up Chicken Tenders with Herb and Radish Salad
Photo: Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins



  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 cups spicy salad greens, such as arugula, spinach, mizuna, mâche, tatsoi, and/or radish leaves

  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • ½ cup loosely packed mixed fresh herbs, such as mint, dill, chives, basil, and cilantro

  • ½ cup thinly sliced radishes


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

  • 2 ½ cups panko

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/8 ounces)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper

  • 6 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil, divided

  • 4 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Additional Ingredients

  • Edible flowers, such as chive blossoms, pansies, and/or nasturtiums (optional), and lemon wedges, for serving


Make the salad:

  1. Combine shallot, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Add olive oil; whisk to combine. Combine salad greens, parsley, mixed herbs, and radishes in a large bowl. Set aside.

Make the chicken:

  1. Place chicken breasts on a cutting board; cut each chicken breast in half horizontally. Cut each chicken breast half into 3 rectangular pieces to yield 12 pieces. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten chicken pieces to 1/3-inch thickness.

  2. Place panko and flour on 2 separate plates. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together eggs, mustard, and 1 tablespoon water. Line a large plate with wax paper. Season chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper. Working with 2 pieces at a time (handling pieces by the ends), coat chicken with flour, patting to shake off excess. Dip in egg mixture, letting excess drip off. Place cutlets in panko, turning carefully to coat both sides of chicken pieces. Arrange breaded cutlets on plate without touching.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium to medium-high. Once butter stops foaming, add as many cutlets as will fit without overlapping; cook, adjusting heat so cutlets sizzle but fat doesn't begin to smoke, until browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel–lined plate to drain; sprinkle with salt to taste while still hot. Repeat process 2 times with remaining oil, butter, and cutlets.

  4. Pour dressing onto greens; toss salad, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide cutlets and salad among 4 plates. Garnish salads with edible flowers, if desired, and serve with lemon wedges.

Make Ahead

Dressing can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator. Whisk dressing before using.

Suggested pairing

Citrusy, lively Soave: Pieropan Soave Classico

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