04 January 2011

Oven-Fried Chicken and Hasselback Potatoes

Yesterday I felt very much like Nigella as I decided to marinade some chicken for dinner about three minutes before we had to leave for work. If only I'd been wearing a lower-cut top, with mood lighting rather than brash sunlight, and a camera crew ready to put everything I needed within arm's reach. Instead I was rushing maniacally around my nonetheless tiny kitchen, grabbing and shaking and stirring and trying to reassure Tom that it would only take a second longer.

Dinner was delicious, and taken from recipes here and here. I've done Hasselback potatoes before, but in the spirit of my only real New Year's resolution (which is to make a bit more of an effort with this blog, in case you couldn't tell) I'll write up the recipe again. With pictures! Oooooh.

You may have noticed a new 'Recipes A-Z' at the top of the page. I'm not sure it's entirely easy to use at the moment, so please comment if you have any suggestions for improvement. Also, if you click on the title of a recipe and then scroll down to the bottom of the recipe, you should see a list of related recipes that might interest you.

In other news, I received Niki Segnit's The Flavour Thesaurus as a late Christmas present, and - wow. Just wow. In a few days I might have gotten over my infatuation with the book enough to talk about it like a normal human being talks about books, but for the moment I'm just going to wallow in my crush.

Oven-Fried Chicken

3 chicken breasts
200ml milk
1 tablespoon lemon vinegar
1 teaspoon lime juice
3 finely chopped garlic cloves
Small handful of chopped onion
1 teaspoon mustard
Spice (I added a teaspoon of ssamjang and a hefty handful of chilli flakes)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 crackers
1 slice of bread
1 handful grated cheese
Sprinkle of chilli flakes
1/4 cup flour
2 grindings of black pepper

Mix the milk with the lemon vinegar and lime in a bowl, and leave to stand while you get the other ingredients out. Chop the garlic cloves and onion (I probably used about a quarter of an onion) and add to the slightly-curdled mixture. Add mustard, spice and cinnamon, and stir everything through. Dump the chicken in, turn to coat in the marinade if necessary, cover the bowl, and leave for work.

The chicken should sit in the marinade for at least three hours - mine sat for about eight. In a separate bowl, crumble the crackers and bread and mix with the cheese, chilli flakes, flour and pepper. I used a blender to whizz everything together to make a very fine dust which coated the chicken remarkably evenly.

Marinaded chicken ready to be coated.
Pick up each chicken breast and shake a little to get off any excess drops. Dredge in the coating and put on to a baking tray. If you want the coating to go properly golden, dot some butter on top of the chicken - I forgot to but was nonetheless perfectly happy with the results.

Waiting to go in the oven.
Bake at 200 degrees (390 Fahrenheit) for thirty minutes.

In the meantime, pour the marinade into a heavy-bottomed pan on a low heat. Stir frantically to decrease the likelihood of making flavoured ricotta. After about five minutes, it can be left on the heat to reduce - I left it for about ten minutes until the sauce was the consistency I wanted. Add seasoning, and herbs if wanted. I served this sauce on the side of the meal in a separate bowl in case it was disgusting, but it was actually really nice and added some less-subtle spice to the meal.

Hasselback Potatoes

6 small potatoes
Oil (lots of oil)

Put each potato in a wooden spoon and cut across at intervals. The wooden spoon will stop you from cutting all the way through, so each potato will fan out as it cooks.

Chopping the Hasselback.
Put onto a baking tray and cover liberally in oil, salt and pepper. Cut small pieces of butter and put one on top of each potato (which should be cut-side up). Roast for forty-five minutes at 200 degrees (390 Fahrenheit), adding more oil halfway through if you think the potatoes don't look crispy enough. Bigger potatoes will take more time, and crispier potatoes (my boyfriend's eternal desire) will also take longer. Serve.

Dinner is served.