Sunday, November 7, 2010

Comfort food made healthier: Oven-fried Chicken

My mother and her mother -- Georgia girls -- were expert at frying chicken. Growing up, I had many a meal of the crispy stuff, accompanied by rice with milk gravy, oven-made biscuits and some sort of greens. When I started doing my own cooking, fried chicken was in my repertoire for awhile. But I gave it up quite some time ago, for any number of reasons. The obvious one is of course the calories, but there's also the mess it causes in the kitchen.
Still, I hate to go through life without having crispy chicken, ever again. This oven version can satisfy my cravings. Use panko bread crumbs, if you have them, or any other variety you choose.
(Shown served with butternut squash puree and a green veggie.)

Oven-Fried Lemon Chicken (serves 4)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs (or panko bread crumbs)
Salt and pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
Lemon wedges, for serving

Place chicken between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and pound lightly, to flatten slightly.
Arrange in a shallow dish and sprinkle with the lemon juice.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small skillet. Add garlic, rosemary and saute, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in bread crumbs and lemon zest, then season with salt and pepper.
Place egg in a shallow dish. Dip chicken breasts, one at a time, into the egg, then into bread crumb mixture, pressing with your hands so that the crumbs adhere to the chicken.
Arrange the chicken breasts on a lightly oiled, shallow baking dish.
Bake in a 400-degree preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Serve with lemon wedges.

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