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Chicken, Fried for Hanukkah #2: Pollo Fritto per Chanuka - meat

Posted by : Karen Selwyn

This recipe comes from a monthly magazine of Italian cooking, 
THE MAGAZINE OF LA CUCINA ITALIANA (December '97).  The magazine
used to have two columns of kosher Italian recipes as a regular
feature.  The December '97 issue was the last installment for 
those columns.  

The recipe is written exactly as it appeared in the magazine,
but I was not happy with the results the first time I made 
the recipe. I have included all the great recommendations I 
received from Mimi Hiller for rescuing this dish and turning 
it into something a Tuscan grandmother might have served 
proudly instead my less-than-successful first effort.

My second attempt was radically different; Mimi's instructions
worked fabulously.

Karen Selwyn

Serves 6 

1 chicken 
  (I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts)
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup flour
2 eggs

Cut each breast quarter into bite-sized pieces.  Do the same 
with each leg quarter. (You will have approximately 24 pieces 
total).  Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, 
garlic, parsley, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Add the 
chicken pieces, turning to coat well.  Refrigerate for 24 

Whisk the flour into the eggs.  Dilute with enough water to 
make a thin batter and place chicken pieces in it.  Heat the 
remaining oil until it is moderately hot (about 325 degrees 
on a thermomenter).  Drop in the chicken pieces and deep-fry 
until golden and crisp, turning once to ensure even cooking.  
Remove with a slotted spoon and blot dry on paper towels.  

Serve immediately.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Mimi says:

I would make several changes to help this along.

1) Increase the cayenne AND add some Tabasco-type sauce to 
   the marinade (maybe 1/4 tsp.)

2) Do not use salt in the marinade.  Since it has moisture-
   leeching tendencies, you don't need anything producing 
   more liquid inside the batter.  You can always salt the 
   chicken after it's cooked... or leave it out entirely.  
   If there's enough flavor, no one will miss it.

3) Drain the chicken in a wire sieve for at least 10 minutes, 
   then pat dry with paper towels...and repeat the patting 
   with fresh paper towels.

4) Definitely dredge the chicken in flour before the batter.  
   In fact, if you really wanted to use salt, put it in the 
   flour.  Be sure to shake off all the excess.

5) I would think that 325F is not hot enough for the oil.  I'd 
   like to recommend a minimum of 350F, though most recipes 
   I've seen call for 375.  (I'm thinking that might be too 
   high if you're only using chucks of white meat.)
                                             Mimi Hiller

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