There's a funny thing you'll find when looking through old 70s Cookbooks. Its called the 70s. Crikey, but they had some funny ideas back then. It seemed that nothing couldn't be pureed or moussed or blended or jellied. Some of the things that they did to fish were just wrong.
Anyway, I had a few old books from that dark period of culinary history, and I decided a while back that there must be some value in them, even if the recipes themselves ought to be microwaved on high for several days, and their ashes spread over the vege patch. So I scoured through the old books and salvaged a handful of recipes to try, or at least adapt. What follows is an adaption.
Before I get to the nuts and bolts, I found it very interesting that in this particular book (No, I can't give its title as it has been recycled many months ago now) there was a particular interest in turning home cooking into a healthy experience. Apparently in the 70s they worried about this a lot. What I saw was the removal of many ingredients that were considered "BAD" (egg, butter), and replaced them with things deemed "GOOD" (yoghurt, margarine). Then, because no-one knew any better, they would go and line the baking tray with aluminium foil, and undo all that hard work. Of course, with the hindsight of 15 years of research into the dangers of cooking with aluminium (and plastic, for that matter, not to mention margarine), none of us now would be silly enough to do that. Would we?
So with this in mind, and not quite having a baking dish with a tray big enough to complete the final stage of this meal, I got all crazy and layered a bunch of ramekins on the bottom of a baking dish with some baking paper on top of them so that the fat could drain away. It sort of worked. Sort of. Of course, I'll be grinning on the other side of my face in 20 years when they tell us how bad cooking with baking paper is, and how only those crazy folk in the good old 00s would have ever done that...
Disclaimer: Freshly Ground takes no responsibility for the number of dishes this meal generates.
Zesty Crumbed Chicken
Makes 5 servings
Defrost enough Chicken Pieces for 5 people (about 1 - 1.5kg). Remove the skin and pat dry.
In a large bowl, mix up 3 eggs, 5 crushed garlic cloves, freshly ground salt and pepper, 1 t dried thyme or 1 T fresh thyme leaves, and 1 t dried tarragon leaves. In a pie dish or similar, mix up 1 C of breadcrumbs and 2 crushed weetbix or similar, with the grated zest of half an orange and 1 small lemon, and 3 T of grated fresh parmesan.
Coat the chicken pieces in flour. Dip each piece in the egg mixture, coating thoroughly, then place in the crumb. Coat and turn, ensuring that the whole piece is well covered. Place on a plate and repeat until all the chicken is crumbed. Put in the fridge for at least 20 mins to allow the crumb to bind to the chicken. (This is the bit that it was worth keeping the recipe for - you'd laugh if you knew how much I had already changed.) Preheat oven to 200C.
Heat a layer of oil in a heavy pan. Place the chicken in the hot oil 2 pieces at a time and brown; about 5 minutes a side. Keep the chicken moving so it doesn't stick, and ensure there is enough oil in the pan that it doesn't burn. This is not a Heart Foundation Tick meal (Although apparently Milo is now). When all the chicken is in your baking tray (as described above or on a tray if you have one), place in the oven on bake for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with a side of fried rice, some steamed carrot, broccoli and cauli and some fried courgettes with wilted silverbeet, if that's what takes your fancy.