Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Perfect Summer Meal: Cornmeal Crusted Chicken, Backyard Summer Salad & Lemon Parmesan Fusilli

This meal happened quite by accident, as all my best ones do. I had several pounds of chicken in the fridge that should have gone in to the freezer. I had taken the kids out of town for a couple of days and totally forgot about the chicken. Until I came home... and noticed that the Sell By Date was that day. We had already eaten dinner but I was not about to lose all that lovely free-range chicken. So I took one of the packages and dumped it into boiling water. I would freeze the cooked chicken to make chicken salad another day. The other batch would get lightly coated with cornmeal and some seasonings, tossed into a skilled with olive oil for a few minutes and then on to a baking sheet for a few more minutes. Even though this would be our dinner the following night I had to try a sample. It was divine. I love to use cornmeal instead of flour. I love the texture it provides.

Cornmeal Crusted Chicken

Chicken breast, 1 to 2 lbs, trimmed and cut into smaller portions as desired
1/2 cup good quality cornmeal, repeat this ratio as necessary
1 tablespoon seasoning such as Lawry's, Old Bay or your preference
Good quality olive oil
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

In a skillet heat olive oil until it starts to sizzle, then turn heat to medium high
In a deep bowl add the cornmeal and seasonings and mix well
Dredge the chicken in the cornmeal and place in the pan. Let brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.
Place on baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken has been browned, adding extra olive oil as needed. (If excess cornmeal builds up in pan, wipe clean with paper towel, add more olive oil and start over.
Place baking sheet in a preheated, 375 degree oven, for about 15 minutes to ensure the chicken is adequately cooked. The cornmeal crust should keep the chicken from drying out inside.

Backyard Summer Salad

If you have a tomato garden this is a perfect salad for you. If you happen to grow cucumber and basil, even better!


1 large cucumber, peeled and trimmed. (I prefer the seedless English cuckes)
1 large tomato, quartered and thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped
1 handful fresh Basil, Julienned
1/2 onion thinly sliced (I prefer red or Vidalia)
1/4 Grandma's Dressing

Grandma's Dressing:
1 cup of light extra virgin olive oil
1/4 apple cider vinegar
4 tbs. water
2tbs. powdered beef bouillon

In a large bowl add the above ingredients. Let marinate at least 20 minutes prior to serving.

The Lemon Parmesan Fusilli was based upon this recipe... I just guestimated here and added 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped.


mt.garcia said...

the lemon parmesan fusilli sounds great..just wanted to share a similar recipe from Giada. Rotini with Salsa di Limone. It has tomatoes in it(I use grape instead of Roma). I also subst parmesan for ricotta salata(she said that she ususally uses parm). Recipe at FN.

Holly said...

tried the lemon parm fusilli last night... delish!