Scallion Pesto-Crusted Chicken

By • April 15, 2014 • 26 Comments

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Author Notes: My grandmother loved scallions. She used them in everything from quiche to tuna salad, but my favorite was always this pesto concoction with scallions, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and breadcrumbs, baked on top of chicken. It’s my go-to weeknight dinner, and my kid’s favorite.secretsofahomecook

Food52 Review: I made secretsofahomecook's Scallion Pesto-Crusted Chicken tonight and, having just put my kids to bed, was thrilled by how quickly it came together. Basically, you put a few ingredients in a food processor, mix in some breadcrumbs, and press the beautifully-hued pesto atop chicken breasts before roasting them. The scallions offer a great twist on an otherwise fairly classic pesto, and I loved how the addition of breadcrumbs made for a topping that didn't slide off during cooking; instead, I ended up with a lovely crust with a very pleasing color. This makes a really nice addition to a weeknight meal rotation, but it would also be at home at a casual dinner party.em-i-lis

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used panko)
  • 3 pounds chicken breasts (4 to 6)
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Place pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the preheating oven for 5 minutes, until just golden.
  2. In a food processor, pulse scallions, Parmesan, toasted pine nuts, and salt. With motor on, drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil until mixture looks like a paste. Transfer into a bowl and mix in breadcrumbs.
  3. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide scallion pesto mixture on top of chicken breasts, making sure they are evenly covered. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until crust is brown. Serve as-is, or slice chicken into 1-inch pieces.
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Comments (26) Questions (0)

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4 months ago Joan

This is my kind of recipe - simple, uncomplicated, and bursting with flavor. We had 2 breasts leftover and hoping they will require a quick warm-up for another dinner. Thanks secretsofahomecook for a really great recipe.

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7 months ago met0813

I made this the other evening and accidentally added all the olive oil to the food processor (helps to read the instructions well), so I added a few extra panko crumbs to the top after spreading the mixture. Broiled it at the very end to get the pretty color and it was delicious. Incredibly moist. Looking forward to trying it again the way the recipe intended. :)

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7 months ago secretsofahomecook

I do that all the time - rush through the recipe and realize I added too much! Sounds like you rebounded just fine. I'm glad it worked out! AC

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7 months ago Chana

Any ideas for cutting down on the amount if oil? How would it work without the 1/4 cup added before baking ? Would it work to brush on some oil? It's so delicious that I hate to mess with it, so just wondering

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7 months ago secretsofahomecook

Well, fat equals flavor, so play around with it. I didn't have a measurement in mind when I came up with the recipe, so 1/4 cup may be just fine

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7 months ago Chana

I served orzo with garlic and oil and salad. Or rice would be good. I would just go simple. Of course a good crusty bread is always yummy.

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7 months ago secretsofahomecook

Simple orzo sounds delicious. I also love black rice. Partly because it got a nuttier flavor and chewier texture than white rice and it's very dramatic on the plate! Black rice with garlic and oil would be another option just like the orzo.

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7 months ago Aðalheiður Sigurðardóttir

What would you typically serve with this dish?

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7 months ago secretsofahomecook

If you go to my website: http://www.secretsofahomecook..., you'll see I've suggested pairings, but I particularly like it with crispy roasted potatoes and onions: http://www.secretsofahomecook...

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7 months ago zach

Do you think omitting the cheese (to make it kosher) ruin the incredibly golden crust?

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7 months ago plainhomecook

I doubt it... and you could probably pop it under the broiler very briefly to brown the crust if you'd like. I'd expect you'd need to up the seasoning, because the parmesan is so salty. Would love to hear how this comes out!

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7 months ago secretsofahomecook

It's a great question. The pine nuts and olive oil should keep it crispy but I do agree with plainhomecook that a bit of additional salt would balance the flavor in absence of the cheese. A run under the broiler is a great idea too (but keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!)

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7 months ago EBCornell

For those of us lucky enough to get our scallions from the garden and not the grocery store, how many scallions are in a bunch? Any thoughts on the volume of chopped scallions I should be aiming for?

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7 months ago secretsofahomecook

You are so lucky! I have 5 scallions in my bunch but it can vary depending on how big or little the scallions are. All chopped up, I would say I usually have about 3/4-1 cup of scallions for the recipe.

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7 months ago Chana

I made this tonight and it was delicious. I added some lemon zest just because. The chicken was juicy and very flavorful. Everyone loved it. Thank you!

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7 months ago secretsofahomecook

Lemon zest - so smart! I'm going to try that next time

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7 months ago Sandy

Any thoughts on using chives in place of scallions? I have so many chive plants right now.

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7 months ago secretsofahomecook

I think chives would be delicious! A smart switch and the sign of a great home cook using what works for you.

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7 months ago Chana

I assume you use skinless, boneless breasts, right? Looks yummy. Going to make tonight. Happy Mother's Day.

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7 months ago secretsofahomecook

Yes, I used skinless, boneless breasts. You could try it with bone-in chicken but adjust the cooking time to reflect it. I would take the skin off either way because the scallion pesto crust on top won't allow the skin to get crispy. Happy Mother's Day to you!

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7 months ago Shirley Wicks

A simple, flavorful, and quick recipe! Perfect for everyday, a dinner party, or served cold on top of a summer salad! I loved the simplicity of both the ingredients and how to prepare. I am looking forward to trying it out on our Big Green Egg this summer as well. This recipe goes into my favorites! Thank you for the opportunity to test!

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7 months ago secretsofahomecook

I'm so glad you like the recipe, Shirley. I just made it last night for my two college kids home for the summer.

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8 months ago plainhomecook

A new favorite in my house!

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8 months ago secretsofahomecook

Than you so much, em-i-lis!

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8 months ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I made this tonight for dinner, and we really enjoyed it. Thanks for a lovely recipe.

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8 months ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

Yum!