This is I Heart Cooking Clubs' last week with Jamie Oliver. Next week launches six months with a new chef: Tessa Kiros.
Six months ago, I started flirting with Jamie Oliver. Giving him a pinky toe test. Reserved. Not too much.
He surprised me with the first recipe: Garlic, Thyme, & Anchovy Baked Potatoes. And again with 1-Minute Berry Ice Cream.
I decided we could spend more time together. See where things went. He brought me gifts--a chickpea salad and a chorizo omelet.
About halfway through this relationship, Jamie Oliver and I stopped seeing eye to eye. We bickered in the kitchen. Sometimes he wanted too much. Baby carrots with their tops intact. Unsalted crackers. Sometimes I wanted too much. Recipes that are more precise than "full whack."
In some cases, I resented him for wasted ingredients and dishes I didn't waste my time posting about. Maybe he resented me for refusing to trust him when I didn't puree chorizo. I tried to make it up by staying with him another week and another and another. He'd make it up to me with Stir Fried Corn or Homemade Granola. Then he'd end up right back in the doghouse again. Ours was what you'd call a roller coaster relationship.
There were several valleys. (But there were peaks too.) If I had to give a grade: 76-78%.
This week I made Crunchy Garlic Chicken.
Before getting to it, here are some of my fond memories.
My best time in the kitchen with JO was this Sweet Cherry Tomato & Sausage Bake. I love the jammy roasted tomatoes and roasting the sausage is delicious too. I found that we preferred using brats and doubling the herbs and garlic. I've made it several times and look forward to next summer's cherry tomatoes.
Next would be Chicken and Leek Stroganoff. While The Boy didn't care for it, I was smitten. Definitely a high point.
Finishing off my top three would be this Potato and Chorizo (Andouille) Omelet w/ a Kinda Parsley Salad. This was tasty and beautiful. The salad on top was such a nice touch.
Runners up would be...
Summer Chickpea Salad. I did have to alter this one based on personal taste, but it's a nice little salad packed with flavor.
Sweet Runner Bean Stew. While I only made the bean part of this fish recipe, I was happy with it.
Banana-Berry Stuffed French Toast. My first time with stuffed French toast. This was easy, fun, and family-approved.
The Crunchy Garlic Chicken this week...
Chosen because it was family-friendly. The breading--lemon zest, garlic, parsley, and crackers smelled like a winner. I had very high hopes. In the end, it was okay--not great. The family wasn't terribly impressed either.
One last thing. I have to tell you about what else is on this plate. Baked Sweet Potato Fries w/ Spicy Chipotle Dipping Sauce. The recipe is from my friend Wendy @ Around My Family Table. I make it as often as I can. I love the seasoning on these fries and I double love the sauce. The Boy wigs out over sweet potato fries (regular fries too). But I make these anyway because The Husband and I can't get enough. Here's the recipe.
Crunchy Garlic Chicken
from JamieOliver.com (click for printable)
2 skinless chicken breast fillets (about 8 ounces each)
3 cloves of garlic
15 Saltine crackers (preferably unsalted tops)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
8 sprigs of fresh Italian parsley
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg plus one egg white
Lemon wedges, for serving
To prepare your chicken
Cut each chicken breast into 2 equal pieces. Put a square of plastic wrap over each one and bash a few times with the bottom of a pan until they are more or less the same thickness.
Peel the garlic and zest the lemons. Put your crackers into a food processor with the oil, garlic, parsley sprigs, lemon zest, and the salt and pepper. Whiz until the mixture is very fine, then pour these crumbs onto a plate. (If using a blender, leave out the oil and chop the parsley roughly and the garlic finely. Add the garlic and parsley after the crackers are pretty much blitzed and mix in the oil once you’ve dumped the mixture onto a plate.)
Sprinkle the flour on to a second plate. Crack the egg into a small bowl, add the white, and beat with a fork. Lightly score the underside of the chicken breasts. Dip the chicken into the flour until both sides are completely coated, then dip into the egg and finally into the flavored crumbs. Push the crumbs on to the chicken breasts so they stick – you want the meat to be totally coated.
To cook your chicken
Preheat your oven to its highest temperature (475°F). Place your chicken on a nonstick sheet pan. Cook for 10 minutes, flip the chicken and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, golden and crisp (no trace of pink at the center of the thickest part). You can check by making a small cut in a piece or two.
To serve your chicken
Either serve the chicken breasts whole, or cut them into strips and pile them on a plate. Beautiful and simple served with lemon wedges for squeezing over the top.