Al Dente: Still Not Southern, Still Not Fried, Still Chicken, Now Slightly More Delicious

No thumbs were harmed in the making of this dinner.

Also the squash still isn’t done.

So sometimes you just need something to eat which is simple and nice and tastes of things. Sometimes food in a box from a place is going to do that for you. Sometimes that box will be from a place that sells takeout. Sometimes it’ll be from a place that sells takeout you cook yourself. Those times are fine. I often call those times Friday.

But sometimes you’ll want to cook. You’ll want to create alchemy, to fuse ingredients together into strange, magical new forms that sing with flavour and texture. You’ll want, like Roger Daltrey, to be out there in the fields, fighting for your meals. You’ll want to get your back into your living.

But you won’t want it to take that long.

That’s what meals like this are for.

 

Victor! Usual Suspects!

-Cornmeal.

-Brioche rolls. If you want to make these yourself then you are in fact so fancy and odds are you already know. Otherwise most supermarkets carry good ones. Also, if you’re worried about the calorie side of things, they’re around 140 calories each.

-A tomato

-Poultry seasoning. As opposed to Paltry Seasoning which would barely be there! HA! HA!

I’m sorry.

-Buttermilk. See! I do listen to myself!

-Cheddar

-Parmesan. Oh yes. A TWO cheese meal. It is in fact ON now.

-Chicken mini fillets.

-And, not pictured, because God knows why, potatoes.

What are we going to do with them?

This.

It stayed in the cupboard. Close to the meat…that was in the fridge.

I learned from my last experience. I was ready. I was prepared. I was standing noticeably further away from it. So, chop your potatoes in half, stab them with the Mandolin’s Death UFO thing, make sure the Mandolin is on an even surface and get to Mandolining. You’ll get stuff that looks like this:

Now, throw some holy water on the Mandolin and drop it in the sink. Then, scatter olive oil (If fancy) and vegetable oil (If in a hurry) over the potatoes. Then salt and pepper them, and shake them. This is a Perez Prado moment should you wish it, or Taylor and Trent. Whichever works.

Oven to 200 degrees, food Valhalla, around now please.

Grate your parmesan, season your corn meal and dump it out on the plate. Now this was actually quite cool. The plate is a really good idea if you want to hand season. It’s big and it’s flat and it’s really easy to handle the meat (SNORK) as well as really easy to refill, hence the secondary tub

The tub of buttermilk though? Paging Mr Cockup, room for one. Those plastic tubs are hilariously bad for this sort of thing. You have to sort of smush the chicken down into them and it drips and then you’re covered in goop and the chicken’s stuck to your fingers and it’s just bad. Don’t do that.

See? Buttermilk’s in the tub. Chicken goes in the buttermilk. Mostly.

So, smush it around as best you can, then douse it in the polenta and lay it out on a tray along with the remarkably un bloodsoaked Mandolin chips. Pop them in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius and have a cup of tea.

Also, check to make sure that Mandolin hasn’t…moved…

Then with about five minutes to spare, come back and split your rolls. Cut a piece of cheddar and a piece of tomato, place them on the rolls and go finish your tea. Then when your timer’s up, serve them;

Notice how the buttermilk has formed a coating with the cornmeal so it looks kind of like actual fried chicken? Isn’t it cool? The buttermilk is a much better adhesive than the egg I tried last time and it’s versatile too. Makes excellent pancakes for a start, and it’s easy to find in shops too.

From start of prep to eating the meal is maybe half an hour. If you don’t like being at constant risk of ritual Mandolin scarification then use oven chips. Again, unhorrifying (140 calories for about 100 grams which is a pretty average serving) and it cuts your prep down to chicken smushery. Your food emergency is solved, your chicken tastes delicious and Roger Daltrey will nod approvingly at you. In about six days when The Who finish the intro of course.

 

Next time, something that isn’t chicken! Promise!

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