Friday, May 7, 2010

Update 20: New Year's Goal: Become an "official" Gourmess by August 2010

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child


I finished Session 11 last night with Escalopes de Volaille Viennoise (Viennese-Style Chicken Scallops), which brought the technique of breading and sautéeing into play.


The dish took about 45 minutes (the book says 30, but close enough) and was relatively easy.

I prepared the garnish first which involved wrapping anchovies (soak in water, pat dry, remove bones) around big fat green olives, sticking a parsley leaf in the olive opening, and putting that whole piece on top of a lemon wheel that had the seeds, peel and pith removed.  My lemon was a bit on the small side, so it wasn't as big as the one in the book, but it worked just as well.  This went into the fridge. Then, I took two hard-boiled eggs, sliced them in half lengthwise, removed the yolks and separated from the whites.  I was instructed to press the yolk and then the whites through a sieve into separate bowls.  I didn't think I would get anything but mush by doing this, but it was pretty slick -- I had two bowls of silky egg sprinkles (my word, not theirs).

Then, on to the chicken.  The recipe was for four breast pieces, but since the fridge is already overflowing, I only did two. I pounded them with a mallet between parchment paper (sorry neighbors!) until they were about a quarter of an inch thick, which was so liberating to do after a crappy day at the office.  Who needs yoga when you have a mallet and some raw meat?

The pieces were now considered to be "suprêmes" not to be confused with the oranges from our Duck demonstration a few weeks ago.  I then prepared the breading ingredients and put flower in the first shallow bowl (I think pie pans work great for this), a whisked mixture of two eggs and vegetable oil, salt and pepper in the second, and breadcrumbs in the third. I thought for sure they would want me to make the breadcrumbs from scratch, but the book didn't give instructions for that, and in a side note it said "if it is necessary to make the breadcrumbs...."  It also noted to be careful not to coat the meat too thick with the dried crumbs as you'll end up having more bread than meat.

I took each suprême, and working one at a time, dipped in flour (and then tapped it to get rid of any extra -- too much makes it gluey), then dipped in the egg (tapping off extra egg), and then finally pressing into the breadcrumbs so each side was even and covered completely.  Then, I used my knife and gently marked in a quadrillage pattern (criss-cross, for presentation) and fried each piece in a pan of clarified butter for 1-2 minutes on each side (starting with the pretty side down) until it was a lovely golden brown and the chicken was cooked through. The chicken crisped up perfectly, and looked really great.



I placed the pieces on paper towels to drain and then put on a plate, finishing with the lemon/olive/anchovy/parsley garnish, the egg sprinkles, some chopped parsley, and also some capers.  The book suggested spooning some thickened veal stock on it as well, and that was it.



The chicken was perfectly cooked, but this dish wasn't one of my favorites. Chris felt there was an overwhelming butter flavor to the meat, which is probably due to frying it in BUTTER.  I thought the briny, tartness of the olives and capers and anchovies went nicely with the chicken and egg, but would have loved a different sauce -- something lighter perhaps?

Either way, it's done and now on to Session 12: Pot au Feu (which means "pot on the fire").

Have a good Friday!
xoxoxxoo

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