Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rosie Makes Chicken Parmesan. Or Was It Parmegiana?

Another day. Rosie is trying to figure out what dead animal to lug out of her big freezer in the utility room. I open the freeze and a fresh Arctic blast greets me. Without much ado, I pull out some chicken bosoms. Yes, we're still trying to clean out the freezer, so's we can fill it right back up. Now, I'm trying to think of something new to do with chicken, and Mr. Hawthorne suggests Chicken Parmesan. Sounds like a plan. Is it Parmesan or Parmegiano or both, and if both, do they signify the same dish? Or is Chick Parm done one way and Chick Giano another? Rosie has so many questions.
As for the recipe, be it Parmesan or Parmegiano,
I'm making up my own. I give you Chicken Hawthorne. First, I got together my sauce ingredients: 1 medium onion 4 garlic cloves about 1 cup mushrooms 1 - 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes 3 fresh bay leaves fresh basil olive oil salt and pepper
I minced my garlic and finely chopped the onion. Rosie hint #156: When mincing garlic, run your knife and fingers under warm water first. Helps keep the garlic from sticking to the knife and fingers. And the more you work the garlic, the stronger the flavor. You're welcome.
I set this aside while I started on the chicken.
These chicken breasts were about 3/4 inch thick.
Mr. Hawthorne beat his meat. Heh. 12. Until it was about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick, or thin.
I let the chicken sit in a buttermilk bath for about an hour. I think this makes for a more tender and sweeter bird.
Ingredients for my batter: 1 part fine cornmeal (Masa Harina) 1 part semolina flour 2 parts Panko breadcrumbs salt and pepper
Mix cornmeal, semolina, Panko, and s & p.
Add a little vegetable oil, extra light olive oil, and buttah and bring it up.
The oil is ready when you can stick the end of a wooden spoon in it and bubbles come out. Vigorously.
Dredge breasts in Panko mixture, shaking off excess.
Add to hot oil.
Fry each side about 2 -3 minutes over medium heat. Drain on paper towels and cover to keep warm while you make the sauce.
I added sliced mushrooms to my hot oils and buttah. Saute until browned. Rosie Tip #186: Do not salt your shrooms until after you saute them. If you salt while you're cooking, the salt draws moisture out of the shrooms and the mushrooms steam instead of saute.
Next, I added the bay leaves ...
... onion and garlic ...
... and sauteed for about 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the crushed tomatoes.
And I always add a little water to my tomato cans, swirl around, and get every last bit of flavor out I can.
Now, I'm going to have to interject something. I've met yet another Internet friend through my blog. He is Zzzadig from Nashville. We have begun corresponding and he's a font of culinary information. Nay. He's a bastion ... a cornucopia ... of exquisite erudition. He exudes gustatory zeitgeist. In one particular communique we talked about dishes we did NOT like. I mentioned the ubiquitous Scotch Eggs I had at the cafeteria in London at Tennyson Square. Summer of 1971. For breakfast. For lunch. For dinner. It was a hard boiled egg, encased in sausage, battered, and deep fried. It was abominable. The English are not known for their "cuisine" and I offer the Scotch Egg as case in point. Zzzadig responded that a Scotch Egg in the right hands could be a thing of beauty. Or at least that was my take on what he said. One of these days, I'm going to make my version of Scotch Eggs. I will have a runny yolk. Zzzadig tells me that ain't the way to go. I will have to make the Scotch Egg palatable to me. And that would be with the runny yolk. Zzzadig, if you happen to have a Scotch Egg recipe you can shoot to me, I'd be more than happy to try it. Or anyone else out there for that matter. ETA: Of course, Zzzadig responded:
We all love the runny egg, but I suggest that you try encasing a hard boiled in sausage before you try something with less firm walls than a hard boiled. I'm not saying that it something you can't accomplish with some sort of extreme delicacy of hand, but it will be a learned art. Also, after cooking the sausage, it might be a wasted effort as the heat will probably further set the egg.
The method is as I stated before: Finely chop some (half medium) white onion, add it and some oregano, basil, and possibly cumin to some spicy country sausage that has plenty of sage. Here, that would be Tennessee Pride brand; there, I dunno. Knead it all together well. Attempt to figure out just how much sausage to patty out to cover an egg (remember, small eggs) about a quarter inch thick. Since that didn't work, try again. It's kind of a tortilla making, rolling, patting effect with the hands. Once all the white disappears under sumptuous sausage and the orb can be handled without fear of tearing open the sausage coating, roll the egg in beaten egg, and then in Italian breadcrumbs (you want them finely ground). Pat those in, and deep fry until golden. Drain and serve whole, halved or quartered with fresh hot Coleman's mustard or Dijon. They are a fine nosh eaten cold with a good stout.
Variations: Finely ground Italian sausage or chorizo. Why let the English have all the fun? Something I have never tried, but don't see why it wouldn't be waaay fun to see about. A finely ground and cohesive shrimp paste with spices of your choice and egg and/or cornstarch/ flour binder -- roll in Panko, spicy breadcrumbs, what-have-you.
Did we discuss Indonesian Chili Eggs? As long as you have boiled eggs and hot oil you might as well give it a try. You actually deep fry a hard boiled egg until it develops a golden crust. That is to make the spices stick. In a pan over high heat, quickly saute minced garlic, ginger and onion in a little oil. Add cilantro, turmeric powder and hot Thai chili chopped fine. It should be pasty and now you can add some rice wine vinegar to make it a little soupy and get the flavors blended. A little sugar or Aji Mirin won't hurt. Roll the eggs around in the sauce until they are yellow and coated. Drain, slice into quarters and eat as appetizer with extra sauce to the side.
And here's more (from 6 this morning - I don't think this man sleeps.): I forgot to comment on the eggs you had in England. I have a nephew-in-law who existed in England for an extended period of time on Scotch Eggs. He mentioned that the ones he bought at the takeaways often actually rattled. This means that they were old enough for the egg to have desiccated inside the sausage! Now, they do keep well, several refrigerated days, but NOT THAT LONG! Lord only knows how old the ones you had were. Also, if they were actually battered like fish from a chip shop, the batter was probably soggy. Finally, the Brits may like their sausage and be proud of a proper banger, but they have no idea how much better good southern U.S.A. sausage is than their attempts at grinding a hog. I love British bacon, but sausage, not so much. The addition of chopped onion and the extra spices is one of my own. I have impressed a Brit friend who was brought up in a Pub into now making them that way herself. Thanks, Z. Just didn't happen back in '71. Back to dishes we HATE. Here's Zzzadig's comment: The only thing that ever caused revulsion (other than 1000 year old eggs, the green and black ones, PU!) was someone's horrible concoction of stewed tomatoes, sweetened with sugar and with what must have been white bread mixed in. It was served at summer camp. I actually gagged. So, Zzzadig, in honor of you, my friend, I'm taking my Kimmelweck rolls and tearing them up and adding them to my tomato sauce. Just for you. Take small steps. Deep breaths.
I'm thinking the caraway and the sea salt will add great flavor (TM -Sandra Lee) to my tomato sauce.
And I was kinda right about that.
A few tablespoons of Cabernet Sauvignon gave the sauce another boost. I simmered the sauce for about 20 minutes.
Then I placed the chicken back in the pan.
Mozzarella and Parmesan.
I grated the cheeses and topped the chicken with the Parmesan and Mozzarella. Cover, heat through, and let cheeses melt.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hawthorne cooked some whole wheat linguini.
Sprinkle basil over top.
And dindin is ready to plate.
Bed of noodles, with sauce, and Chicken Parmesan/Parmegiano/Hawthorne.
This was good. Period. I loved the sauce. The chicken was juicy and tender. And of course you have that fried thing going on, so what's not to like about that? Then you have the cheeses, and subsequent gooeyness. And the fresh basil.
I'd give this two shakes and a hip check.
Then I had to go back to the pan and pick.
And you know I'd go for the gooey cheese.


zzzadig said...

Pinches of good bread as an addition to a nice sauce is a far cry from a loaf of Bunny Bread slowly disentegrating into a sugar sweet goo of tomato. You know you are in trouble when the only spice used is sugar. Think one can of chunky tomato soup,plus one cup of sugar -- spread on bread, and lift and eat fast lest it fall through the crust. I believe the local name for this dish was Rising Gorge. Oh, BTW I went to camp in Weaverville, NC.

The CP looks positively divine, bread and all. The only suggestion from the "font" (NOT) is to use your wine to wash out the tomato can instead of the water -- it gives the recycle bin nice a heady odor.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Excellent suggestion about the wine wash. Thanks again.

Marion said...

Actually 1000-year old eggs don't taste that bad if you don't look at them. Or smell them. The Beijing hotel had them every day for breakfast, along with preserved tofu - which smells like old cheese. The same buffet also had Roquefort cheese for breakfast, and I always wondered what the Chinese thought of that.