It is tempting to label this dish as “fried chicken” but the chicken was cooked in the oven. With the popularity of air fryers these days, I could have called it “oven-fried chicken” or “air-fried chicken” but both would be misleading as hell. This herb and Parmesan crusted chicken was baked but, by end of cooking time, the crust that coated the chicken legs and thighs was so as crisp as though the chicken pieces had been fried.
What went into the crust? Herbs and Parmesan, as the title says. But there was more.
The crust was a mixture of panko (Japanese bread crumbs), onion flakes (available in the spice section of the grocery), garlic powder, finely grated Parmesan, tarragon and thyme.
Meanwhile, the chicken thighs and legs were marinated in a mixture of salt, pepper, spicy mustard, tarragon and thyme.
Each piece of chicken was coated in the crust mixture.
Then, the chicken pieces were lined up on a rack set over a tray to catch the drippings.
To help make the crust truly crisp (as though the chicken legs and thighs were fried), after arranging the chicken on the rack, I sprayed them with oil.
Thirty minutes later, the crust was crisp enough but the coloring was still pale. The chicken meat was a bit underdone too. Another ten minutes in the oven did the trick.
Inspired by Mark Bittman’s Baked Mustard-Herb Chicken.
Herb and Parmesan Crusted Chicken
- 1 kilogram chicken thighs and legs
For the marinade
- 1/4 cup spicy mustard
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
For the crust
- 1 and 1/2 cups panko
- 1/4 cup Parmesan finely grated
- 1/4 cup onion flakes (available in the spice section of the grocery)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon tarragon
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
Wipe the chicken thighs and legs dry with a kitchen towel.
In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the chicken. Mix to coat each piece well.
Cover the bowl and allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
Take chicken out of the fridge and allow to warm to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or non-stick paper. Position a rack in the tray.
In a bowl, stir together all the ingredients for the crust.
Roll the chicken pieces in the crust mixture.
Arrange the chicken on the rack. Make sure that they are at least an inch apart to allow the hot air to circulate between them. Optionally, spray the chicken with cooking oil. Keep the oil can at least a foot from the chicken. If you spray too near, you might blow away the crust.
Bake the chicken at 400F for 40 minutes.
If using fresh tarragon and thyme, double the amount.