Sesame Chicken with Arugula and Artichokes

1/2 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) white sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon fine salt, plus more as needed
4 chicken breast cutlets or 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 pound total) (see NOTE)
Neutral oil, such as vegetable, as needed
1 (12-ounce) jar quartered and marinated artichokes, drained marinade reserved
4 cups baby arugula
Freshly cracked black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

Using a mini food processor, spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, roughly crush the sesame seeds with the salt until they turn mostly powdery with some whole seeds remaining. Transfer the mixture onto a rimmed plate.

If using chicken cutlets, place a cutlet between two pieces of parchment paper and use a heavy skillet or a rolling pin to pound until 1/4-inch thick. If using chicken thighs, use as they are.

Dredge the chicken in the sesame mixture, pressing firmly to coat.

In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom and heat until shimmering. When a few sesame seeds dropped into the pan instantly sizzle, the oil is ready.

Working in batches if necessary, add the coated chicken to the pan in a single layer, leaving enough space between the pieces so they brown, not steam. Cook until the outside is golden and the inside is cooked through (165 degrees), 2 to 4 minutes per side, adjusting the heat under the pan as needed. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack. Repeat with any remaining chicken, adding more oil to the pan as needed. If seeds that fall from the chicken begin to burn in the oil, carefully wipe the skillet clean and add fresh oil.

While the last batch is cooking, in a big bowl, combine the artichokes and arugula. Toss, adding the artichoke marinade, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the sesame chicken atop or alongside the salad, with a lemon wedge on the side.

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