Two days ago, on Friday, at the height of evening rush hour, I went to the grocery store. Since I have the luxury of much unscheduled time, usually I go grocery shopping in the middle of the day when things are less frantic. But on Friday I had to wait at home all day for a plumber to come and unclog my basement floor drain. (The good news is the drain has been fixed.) So there I was in the crowded grocery store with all the single guys getting frozen pizzas and the poor harried working moms gathering provisions for the weekend.
There was a woman, in her late 30s or so, pushing an empty cart down the aisle, looking a little forlorn. She picked me out of the crowd and said to me in a tired voice with a slight Spanish accent, “Excuse me, madam, but could you tell me how to make fried chicken?”
Do I look like an old redneck white woman who has been cooking greasy fried food for most of the past century? I guess so.
So I told her about my shortcut that’s really delicious, less fatty, and much less messy than frying chicken. I told her to get some chicken. Then I walked with her to find the crushed cornflakes. I scanned the shelves with her until we found my beloved Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning. A dozen containers were on the top shelf beyond our reach, bound together by a large sheet of plastic. The forlorn woman found her preteen son and got him to jump up until he could reach the seasoning on the top shelf. She pulled out one container, smiled wearily, thanked me profusely, and headed for the check-out line. I went to the frozen food aisle and bought one diet macaroni and cheese and a bag of frozen petite broccoli florets. I wished I had offered to follow her home. I had a sudden craving for my fake fried chicken.
So, here’s a rough idea of how I make the chicken. I forgot to tell her to add parmesan cheese. Do you think I can find her?
Oven-Fried Zatarain’s Chicken
Cornflake crumbs, about 1 cup
2 – 3 teaspoons Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning (I like a lot of it, but you use it to taste)
About ¼ cup parmesan cheese (optional)
Chicken (I use 3-4 boneless, skinless breasts, but you can use whatever you like)
½ cup melted butter or margarine
Mix cornflake crumbs, seasoning, and parmesan in a shallow plate.
Dip chicken pieces in butter and roll in crumb mixture until evenly coated.
Place on baking sheet and bake in 375 degree oven for about 35 – 45 minutes, depending on size of chicken breasts.