My Sicilian Zia ( Aunt) is always crumbing fish, meat and fillets of chicken and baking them in the oven. This Italian style crumbed chicken is an old recipe from the center of Sicily that I have adapted with my own spin and celebrating one of the simple ways of enjoying chicken that we all love. You could say that this is a grown-ups version of crispy fried chicken, but I know that the whole family will love this recipe. For texture and keeping foods moist I love using bread crusts and stale bread is the best. In addition, infusing infusing the breadcrumbs with extra flavour like cheese, garlic, herbs and lemons really bring life to a crumbing mixture. The herb broth from this recipe can also be used for a great tasty soup base so don’t go throwing it away.
- A great tip is to pour some of the seasoned bread crumbs into a plate then dip the chicken into the crumb mix keeping the base mix clean and free from chicken. If you do need more crumb mix, add some to the plate as you need it. You will eb able to then freeze the remainder of the crumb mix for later use.
For the Chicken
Heat the oil in pot large enough to hold the chicken pieces and the vegetables. Into the hot oil add in the onion, carrots and celery and cook the vegetables until they just start to colour on the out side – this is to give the cooking broth some flavour. Add the herbs and garlic into the vegetables and place the chicken pieces ontop of the vegetables and herbs. Pour over enough water to just cover the chicken pieces. Season the water with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Bring the water to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid and simmer gently for 15 minutes until the chicken in tender. Remove the chicken and drain on paper towel to cool slightly. Remove the herbs from the liquid and bled up the vegetables and the remaining liquid to make a vegetable soup base. Freeze this or serve it as a soup with rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes and a good grating of parmesan cheese.
For the bread crumbs
In a food processor, combine the breadcrumbs, pecorino or parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon zest and garlic until mixed well but still resembling bread crumbs, that is you dont want to turn it into a doughy mess as you will use this to crumb the chicken. Season the crumb with salt and pepper.
Whisk the eggs into a shallow bowl, then pour the bread crumbs into a second dish or bowl. Remove any fat from the chicken and dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then press the chicken firmly into the breadcrumbs to coat each piece evenly.
Heat the oil in a heavy based pan and fry the chicken on all sides for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with