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Sunday, 18 April 2010

My Mamma's Fried Chicken

Fried chicken - that's what I consider to be one of the biggest crowd pleasers. Whenever I have served this delicacy, I have always seen my guests going for not just second, but third or fourth helpings! My version of this dish is my mum's own special recipe; it is made with breast meat only, so that it is super tender and the cooking time is the same for all the pieces, and the batter is enriched with parmesan and parsley. The result is a crispy, savoury coating that encases juicy, moist strips of chicken. If you decide to cook this dish, my main advice is to make plenty: I would not be surprised if they prove to be addictive!

INGREDIENTS (for 3 - 4 people)

  • 2 chicken breasts* (organic or free range, please!)
  • 2 eggs (same as above!)
  • Breadcrumbs (you'll need roughly 150 gr. but make sure you have more handy, just in case)
  • Three tablespoons of plain flour
  • Two level tablespoons of finely chopped flat-leaf parsely
  • Two heaped tablespoons of grated Parmesan (Parmigiano) cheese
  • Sunflower oil 
  • Salt
* Tip: when I need chicken breast meat, I find that it works out much cheaper to buy a whole chicken and cut off the breast myself - or if you don't feel confident doing this, you can ask your butcher to do so for you. Then use the legs and wings for roasting/curry/casseroles, and the carcass for making stock. I easily get 5 meals for 2 people at least, out of one chicken!

Take the skin off the breast and cut them into strips; this doesn't need to be a surgical procedure but if you can make it roughly of the same size, this would help you ensure they all cook evenly. Put the flour in a bowl and the breadcrumbs in a small plate. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs together, add a pinch of salt, the cheese and the parsely and mix it all together to form a batter. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan (the temperature is right when you drop a small piece of potato in the oil and it comes floating to the surface). You'll be deep frying, therefore pour oil to a depth of about 2 cm in the pan. Now get one chicken strip, coat it in flour a shake off the excess; dip it in the egg batter; roll it in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated, and carefully drop it in the hot oil.  
Repeat until the pan is filled with chicken strips (but don't overcrowd it or they won't cook properly). Keep the heat medium-low and let each strip cook for 3-4 minutes before overturning it. When ready, take them out of the pan using a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs, rest the on a tray lined with kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt. While you are cooking them all, you can keep the ones that are ready warm in the oven at 125 C°. 
Serve with a wedge of lemon, a side of green salad and garlic mayo or sweet chilli sauce for dipping. They are also delicious cold in a sandwich or wrap. 

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