Pollo a Nissena
My Sicilian Zia ( Aunt) is always crumbing fish, meat and fillets of chicken and baking them in the oven. This 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 crusts or crumbs and especially infusing them with flavour and I feel that there is no excuse for just using plain old bread crumbs when you can add a few herbs, some aged pecorino cheese and lemons to really bring life to a crust. The herb broth from this recipe can also be used for a chicken stock in a soup so don’t go throwing it away.
- 1 whole chicken broken up into pieces, breasts, thighs, legs
- 3 tblsp olive oil
- 1 whole onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1/2 bunch parsley
- 5 sage leaves
- 1 stalk of rosemary
- 2 stalks of thyme
- 2 bayleaves
- 3 cloves of smashed garlic
- 2 eggs whisked with 1 tbsp water
- 3 cups (200 g) fresh bread crumbs, fine
- 1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese
- 1 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, leaves picked
- 1 large clove of garlic
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil for frying
For the filling
Heat the oil in pot large enough to hold the chicken. Add in the onion, carrots, celery and sweat off the vegetables until the just start to colour. Add in the herbs and garlic and place the chicken into the pot. Pour over enough water to just cover the chicken and season the water with salt and pepper.
Beat the eggs and water in a bowl, if you have a food processor , blend the breadcrumbs, pecorino cheese, parsley, lemon zest and garlic until well combined but still crumbly and season with salt and pepper. 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 into the breadcrumbs to coat evenly.