I had a bunch of doctors appointments yesterday. All good – though I probably need surgery for a labral tear on my hip which stinks. Anyhow, I brought along “The Husband’s Secret” by Laine Moriarty to accompany me in the waiting rooms. When I closed the book part way through the day, I discovered I was already half way through. I was disappointed because I still felt like I was at the beginning. I wasn’t attached to the characters, involved in the plot, or really feeling sentimental about the book at all.
My problem is that lately I’ve read some GREAT books. “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr? A masterpiece that left me a heaping mess. “A Man Called Ove”? I laughed, I cried, I fell in love. “Half Broke Horses” by Jeanette Walls? After “The Glass Castle”, I couldn’t put it down, and still can’t get the life of Lily Casey Smith out of my mind. When you read a great book, it takes over your life, dominating your thoughts, devastating you when it ends. And ruins you for just-fine easy read literature. Sigh. I think I’ve become a book snob. The struggle is real.
Switching gears – to my other snobby obsession – food! I love fried chicken, but we all know it is not part of a heathy diet. Every once in awhile, sure, but now that I don’t eat fried food very often it makes my stomach hurt when I do indulge. So, what about a lighter version we can still enjoy? I’ve been making this fried chicken for years now. The breading adds calories, to be sure, but it’s fried in a small fraction of the oil usually used.
This salsa rossa I was introduced to by my brother in law, who subscribes to Food and Wine. It was so fabulous that I had to repeat it. The original recipe is here at Food and Wine, and I pretty much made it exactly like the have it. It was delicious with the broccoli rabe, which would be a great sub for the beans I used if you can find it. However, I did halve the recipe as I didn’t need the full batch. I would highly suggest that you make a full recipe – if you already bought the pickled goods, why not? You can freeze half and use it in the future. The vinegary, brine-y sauce is so, so good. A wonderful way to dress up veggies or any dish really!
Side note – they always have fabulous food at their house, and they always say it’s out of a Food and Wine magazine. I’m thinking of subscribing for a little inspiration!
[Lightly] Fried Chicken and Salsa RossaPrint Recipe
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tbsp dried oregano + 1/2 tsp
- 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- Great beans (if using) + 1tbsp butter
- a pinch of Parmesean
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (not in oil)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 roasted red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pickled hot peppers, plus 2 tbsp brine from jar
- 1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pound the chicken to an even thickness, about 1 inch. Place in a bowl and cover with milk. Allow to sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature.
While you are waiting, prepare the salsa rossa. In a small sauce pan, boil 1/2 cup water. Add in tomato and a pinch of pepper flakes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender.
Add roasted pepper, pickled peppers, the brine and vinegar. Slowly incorporate olive oil while blending. At the end, add in 1/2 tsp oregano and sugar, season with salt and pepper, and blend for a second just to combine.
Take out 3 medium sized bowls. In the first bowl, combine the flour with 1tsp salt and cracked pepper to taste. In the second bowl, whisk together eggs. Salt and pepper to taste. In the 3rd bowl, combine bread crumbs, oregano, thyme, paprika and salt and pepper to taste.
Wash the beans (if using) and remove stems. Bring a large pot of water to boil and steam the beans for about 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from water and toss in butter. Salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a large skillet with the oil over medium high heat.
Remove chicken from milk and pat dry. First, dredge in the flour mixture, making sure all sides are coated. Second, coat in the egg mixture, making sure all sides are coated. Third, dredge in breadcrumb mixture, making sure all sides are coated. Place into hot oil. Repeat for subsequent breasts.
Cook the chicken for about 5-7 minutes on each side, flipping when crust is a nice golden brown. Using a meat thermometer, continue to cook until chicken is 165F. Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
To serve, layer chicken over beans and top with salsa rossa and parmesan.
Leftover salsa rossa? Freeze it for a later date up to 3 months!