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TEST KITCHEN CHICKEN EASY ***

Serves 4

For a substantial crust, don’t break up the Melba toasts up too much – and coat the chicken well with mayonnaise. You can use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken, or try the “nick-and-peek” method – use a paring knife to make a small slit into the top of the chicken and take a look at the meat’s interior. The Melba crumbs can be made weeks in advance and stored in the freezer.

1 5-ounce box Melba toast, broken into rough pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/8 teaspoon sugar

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each), pounded to an even

3/4-inch thickness

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Place Melba toast pieces, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, and sugar in heavy-duty zipper-lock freezer bag. Seal bag and pound with a heavy blunt object (such as a rolling pin) until Melba toasts are crushed, but still has some crumbs the size of small pebbles. Add 2 tablespoons mayonnaise to bag and work mayonnaise evenly into crumb mixture by gently squeezing outside of bag. Transfer Melba crumb mixture to large plate.

2. Using your fingers, coat 1 breast with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise. Transfer to plate with Melba crumbs, sprinkle top of chicken with some Melba mixture, and press down firmly to adhere crumbs. Flip breast and repeat, making sure that thick layer or crumbs coats both sides and edges. Transfer breaded chicken breast to baking rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

3. Bake chicken until juices run clear and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of breast registers 165 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and let rest on rack 5 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

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