Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicken Milanese and Latkes

It is always such a treat to be invited to a friend's house for dinner and enjoy a home cooked meal without the planning, shopping and cleaning! This week Kevin and I had dinner at the house of a Jewish couple with whom we've become close friends. I've heard much adieu about Jewish cooking, and I was so excited for my first experience in this cuisine! They made us a meal that they enjoy regularly when their (huge) family gets together- Chicken Milanese and Latkes.

Now I know that Chicken Milanese is not succinctly Jewish, but the recipe has been passed down for generations, and is ingrained into their family traditions. The chicken was coated in panko bread crumbs (a new favorite ingredient) and herbs, and is pan fried to perfection. The recipe is a keeper that can easily be adapted to any cuisine. (I plan to add fresh mozzarella and marinara next time for an Italian version.)

Latkes on the other hand are unarguably Jewish, and I have to say that I am adopting them into my recipe repertoire. More commonly known as potato pancakes in my neck of the woods, these fried bundles of creamy potatoes were crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and purely addicting. Where most midwesterners would add applesauce (and consume them at Friday night fish fries), I followed my hosts with their families' traditional topping- sugar. And let me tell you, sugar on this fried goodness was reminiscent of beignets in New Orleans, and I can't imagine eating them any other way.

Chicken Milanese
Crunchy fried chicken packed with flavor. 
4 servings
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 large eggs
1.5 cups panko breadcrumbs
3 T fresh parsley
3 tsp fresh oregeno
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper 
3 T olive oil
Using meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten chicken between sheets of plastic wrap to thickness of 1/2 inch.  Whisk eggs in medium bowl to blend.  Mix panko, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper on plate.  Dip chicken in beaten egg, turn to coat.  Dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating completely.  Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and saute until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Keep warm in 200 degree oven until ready to serve.

Crispy potato pancakes are a perfect side dish. 
Serves 10

5 large potatoes
1 large onion
3 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Vegetable or canola oil (for frying)

Cut potatoes and onions into pieces.  Put in food processor or blender.  Blend and strain to remove excess moisture. Add eggs, flour, and seasoning to strained mixture and mix to combine. Heat oil (several inches thick in pan) and fry potato pancakes with oil almost covering them completely. Flip after a couple minutes and remove when golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with sugar, sour cream or applesauce.

Wine of the Night- Il Moscato
Il Moscato is a gentle sparkling wine that is both dry and fruity. It was absolutely delicious with this meal! It's carbonation cut through the rich food and nicely complemented its flavor and texture. It would also be excellent with spicy food or alone on a warm summer night (so far away!). Remember, you don't need a special occasion to open a bottle of sparkling wine, and when it's this well-priced there is no reason not to!

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