Cooking Our Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home

The only down side to having to work next to City Bakery is coming to the reality that lunch will now cost you ten dollars. Or more. It’s just so hard to resist the hot chocolate and mac and cheese. But even a handful of salad can somehow hit the precious ten dollar lunch mark.

Gothamist recently exceeded this barrier again at City Bakery by overfilling a plate with wasabi green pea crusted chicken. The chicken breast was great, but more striking was the wasabi green pea crust. Coarsely ground, the wasabi peas added a nice heat and crunchy exterior to the moist chicken breast.

It wouldn’t be a City Bakery inspired meal without mac and cheese. Gothamist wasn’t in the mood to go through the multi-step process of a traditional baked mac and cheese, so we just added sautéed leeks and crumbled goat cheese to steaming hot macaroni shells for a creamy and tangy base for the bold wasabi pea chicken.

Gothamist Recipe


Wasabi Pea Crusted Chicken
Leek, Goat Cheese Pasta Shells

Gothamist adds a quick brining period to our recipe for roasted chicken breast – the difference is minimal in labor and improves the tenderness of the chicken immensely. You can skip the brine and make this dish on a weekday in about 30 minutes. Take the time to brine if you can. Serve this dish with a side salad if possible.

Ingredient Shopping List
Recipe serves two people

2 4-6 ounce free range skinless chicken breasts
1 package wasabi peas (available at most bodegas)
1 bunk leeks
extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Unsalted butter
1 4 oz log of fresh goat cheese
1 egg
1 bunch fresh scallions
1 clove garlic
1 pinch red pepper flakes
¼ cup milk
1 small log of fresh goat cheese
1 lemon
¼ cup of sugar

Estimated cost of ingredients: $18 at Fairway

Brine the Chicken (Optional)

To brine the chicken, dissolve 1/4 cup of kosher salt with 1/4 cup of sugar in 8 cups of cold water. You can brine in a shallow, covered baking dish or a large zip lock bag. Brine for 30 minutes. Try not to brine for much longer.

Prep the Pasta Ingredients

Clean and dry two bulbs of leeks. Cut off the root of the leek and slice the white base in thin but rough pieces. Do not use the dark green tops of the leek. Reserve for a future stock or sauce. Rough chop one clove of garlic. Take out a pinch of the chili flakes and thinly slice the greens from two of the scallions. Finally, crumble 3/4 of the entire 4 oz goat cheese log.


Take a pasta pot and fill with cold water. Add a handful of kosher salt to water to make it taste like the sea. Place on boil.

Prep and Roast the Chicken

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place ½ cup of the wasabi peas in a food processor and puree until thinly chopped. However, leave some of the peas chunky for added texture.


Take out your chicken and rinse from the brine under cold water. Dry thoroughly and place on aluminum foil. Crack and egg and beat it into a small bowl. Brush one side of the chicken breasts with the beaten egg. Salt and pepper.


Then liberally sprinkle the top sides of the chicken with the chopped wasabi peas. Fully cover them until you cannot see the chicken, patting with your hands. Turn the chicken and repeat the above process, including the brushing of egg. Reserve the left over ground wasabi peas for later.


Place the chicken breast in a pan and place in the hot oven for about 8-10 minutes depending on your oven and the size of the chicken breasts you buy. Start checking them at about the 8 minute mark.

Finish the Pasta

While your chicken is in the oven, get the pasta water boiling. Add ¼ box of the small pasta shells and stir after a minute. Cook for about 3 minutes or until just a little firmer than al dente. Drain and while in your strainer, add a drizzle of olive oil and stir. This avoids pasta from sticking together.


In the same pan that you cooked the pasta, add one tablespoon butter and bring to medium heat. Add the slice leeks and the garlic and pinch of salt. Add the pinch of chili and sauté for 2 minutes and stir. Add the ¼ cup of milk and simmer for a minute or two. After another minute, add the pasta and mix all together on the heat. Add the prepped crumbled goat cheese to the pasta and stir until mixed and melted, about 1 minute. Add the scallions, a drizzle of olive oil and about two tablespoons of the ground wasabi peas and take off the heat.


Finish the Dish

Take the chicken out of the oven and slice into 1 inch pieces on a cutting board, but only after letting it rest for a minute to let the juices settle. Place the pasta on the plate in a mound and place the sliced chicken over it. Serve right away.