The Thursday Gourmet: Uncle Bill’s Chicken6 August, 2009
I like garlic. Hell, in our house, garlic is considered a vegetable. I’ve been known to go through as many as 10 bulbs of garlic in a month. Not cloves of garlic. Bulbs.
This recipe comes (in a roundabout way) from a garlic cookbook (a collection of recipes from the Gilroy Garlic Festival) in which it is listed as ‘Uncle Hugo’s Chicken.’ My name is not Hugo. I have no uncle, much less an uncle by the name of Hugo. I am an uncle, though, so to her I am Uncle Bill. Thus, my altered version of the recipe is called:
Uncle Bill’s Chicken
2 bulbs (yes, bulbs) of garlic, peeled and finely diced
1 stick sweet (unsalted) butter
3 slices of good white bread
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan Reggiano, Asiago, or other good strong butter Italian hard cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, stemmed and minced
1 pound of chicken cutlets (2 large chicken breasts sliced into thin cutlets)
Peel and finely dice the garlic. No, go smaller. Mince it. Use the freshest garlic you can find. Do not use dried, dehydrated or powdered garlic. It won’t work.
Melt the butter in a small pan (there should be about 1/2 inch of melted butter in the pan). Don’t let the butter foam. Dump in the garlic, stir, and allow to fry for about 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t let the garlic brown but make sure it really is cooked.
While you are doing that, use two forks to reduce three pieces of good white bread (homemade is best) into crumbs. Mix in the cheese and parsley. Place the bread crumbs in a large flat bowl.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Allow the garlic and butter to cool. Don’t refrigerate it or it will solidify. Just be cool, not cold. When the garlic butter is cool, dip each chicken cutlet into the butter and then coat both sides with the bread crumbs. Place each cutlet onto a baking sheet (jelly roll pans work nicely as they won’t let the butter drip over the sides).
Once all the cutlets are coated, mix any leftover crumbs with the butter and make it into ‘crumbles.’ Sprinkle it over the cutlets.
Bake at 450 for about 15 to 20 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked. The coating should be crunchy but not burned.
Serve with a large salad and a side of cheese raviolis tossed with melted butter.
Don’t let the amount of garlic scare you away from this dish. The frying and then baking takes most of the ‘bite’ out of the garlic and gives it a mellow, almost nutty, taste.