Sunday, May 8, 2011

Oatmeal Crusted Chicken

 I got to break in my new cast iron skillet today.  I have officially paid in full one of my student loans and to celebrate I bought a heavy cast iron skillet.  Well that, and I wanted one, and I will use just about any excuse to buy something new that I want for my kitchen.  Tiny or not.  And because my kitchen is tiny, the skillet will evidently be living on my stovetop. 

So, we pan fried some oatmeal crusted chicken, a very simple recipe from Cooking Light's Jan/Feb edition.  The chicken breasts chilled out in some egg and buttermilk this afternoon while I ran some errands.  I then seasoned it with some salt and cayenne pepper, a small deviation from the original recipe, which I was afraid might be too bland.  Finally, it was crusted in an oatmeal and flour mixture and pan fried in my new skillet.  After I flipped it, it went in to a 425 degree oven to finish cooking. 

One thing I really need to start conditioning myself to do is to stop relying on recipes for times.  Just because the recipe said to saute on one side for 4 minutes doesn't necessarily mean that after 4 minutes in a medium high heat skillet, when I flip the chicken, the oatmeal coating will be in fact a pretty golden crisp.  Like today, when it wasn't and was a rather black burnt color instead. 

I learned my lesson with the second half of the recipe and decided to check the chicken 8 minutes into the prescribed 10 minute baking time.  Which was just about perfect, if not 30 seconds too long.  I am learning!

Overall, the chicken was good.  It wasn't a YUM, but it was much better than just ok.  Even with a burnt top coating and a bottom coating that stuck mostly to the pan.  It's a good recipe, and all the little flaws it had I think could be easily made up for in the next go round.  More cayenne pepper, or some other seasoning, would be great, maybe in the actual coating and not just on the chicken.  Maybe some Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs mixed in with the oatmeal.  That and me actually cooking, not just following the recipe minute for minute like a dummy.  I think it deserves a spot in my big green cookbook, just with a little post-it note to remind me of lessons learned. 

My little side salad was made from some ripe tomatoes that have been sitting in my fridge all red and pretty since I bought them last week at the grocery store where they seduced me, sitting all red and pretty.  I added the left over scallions I had and mixed them both up with some salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.  Very simple, and probably my favorite thing on my plate tonight.  But just wait until I give this chicken a proper second go round.

Oatmeal Crusted Chicken
adapted from Cooking Light Jan/Feb 2011 Edition

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c. buttermilk
1 large egg
cayenne pepper
2/3 c. flour
1/2 c. oatmeal (ground oats preferred)

Combine buttermilk and egg and whisk well.  Place chicken in mixture.  Marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours or so.

Preheat oven to 425.  Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade.  Sprinkle breasts on each side well with salt and cayenne pepper.  

Combine flour and oatmeal.  Dredge chicken in mixture.

Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in large overproof skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and saute for 3-4 minutes until coating is golden.  Flip over and put skillet in oven.  Bake at 425  for 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

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