Last Updated on March 30, 2022
Za’atar is a good-for-everything Levantine seasoning made with wild thyme, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds. The herbaceous spice mix gives Middle Eastern flair to these easy-to-make fried chicken cutlets, which are paired with garlicky labneh adding a touch of tang.
Serve these cutlets alongside a chopped green salad with olives and feta, or tuck into a pita with sliced cucumbers and a handful of chopped parsley.
- 1 cup labneh
- 1 clove garlic peeled and finely grated
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup za’atar
- 2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 lemon
- Flaky sea salt
- Mix together the labneh and the garlic in a small bowl until it’s fully incorporated. Cover and refrigerate.
- Slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise to create 6 cutlets. Working 1 or 2 at a time, place them between sheets of parchment paper or wax paper and pound until 1/3 inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Place the flour in a wide shallow bowl. In a second wide shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs. In a third wide shallow bowl, whisk together the panko, za’atar, and Aleppo pepper.
- Dip both sides of each chicken cutlet into the flour, ensuring each side is fully coated, then tap off the excess flour. Dip both sides of each cutlet into the beaten eggs, letting the excess run off. Finally, press both sides of each cutlet into the panko, ensuring each side is evenly coated.
- Add enough olive oil to a large non-stick pan until it’s ½ inch high and place pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is so hot that a dash of flour foams up, place 1-2 cutlets into the pan at a time, being careful not to overcrowd it. Cook each cutlet until it’s golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Place fried cutlets on a paper-towel covered platter and cover with more paper towels.
- After all the cutlets are cooked and have been patted dry with paper towels, squeeze lemon over them and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Serve with garlic labneh and a chopped green salad.
Nevin Martell is a D.C.-area based food and travel writer, parenting essayist, recipe developer, and photographer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, National Geographic, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, and many other publications. His eight books include Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America's Favorite Rural Bakery and The Founding Farmers Cookbook: 100 Recipes for True Food & Drink, It’s So Good: 100 Real Food Recipes for Kids. Find him on Instagram @nevinmartell, on Twitter @nevinmartell, and online at nevinmartell.com.