April 3, 2011

False counsel from Mr. Twain

March, in like a lion, out like a lamb.  Such lies. Friday morning I awoke to the sound of wet, icy snow sliding down the roof.  There was no April fooling about it.  Who wants to be thinking of warming their bones on the first of April? Sometimes the price we New Englanders pay for living in the best place on earth is mighty high.

Mark Twain once said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes. “ I feel that he should have been more specific. I waited all day and watched the snow change to sleet and then to rain. Thank you Mr. Twain for the false optimism.

Tom and I were na├»vely hoping that this weekend would be just warm enough to pack a lunch and visit our rock at Halibut Point. Wishful thinking my friends. I was even prepared to finally share with you that wonderful chicken recipe that works so well for picnics. 

To be fair, even though there was no outdoor picnicking this weekend the sun did shine warm enough to sweep off the back porch and air out the apartment. I suppose that’s reason enough to go forward with making this spring chicken. It certainly does not require a picnic, just enough sunshine to have faith that April snow showers will eventually bring May flowers.

Oven Baked Rosemary Chicken

Nonna has been fooling people with this recipe forever.  When done right, it looks and tastes better than the fried stuff.

Before we begin, I would like to take this opportunity to document the fact that after several decades of making this dish, Nonna officially changed the recipe about two years ago by omitting the butter and upping the olive oil. After some reluctance (I’m never one to readily accept change) I tried the updated version. The result? The Nonna is always right.

2 lbs. chicken thighs
1 ¼ lbs. chicken drumsticks
1 ½ cups Italian breadcrumbs
½ cup flour
Extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs rosemary

Preheat the oven to 400*

In a medium bowl combine breadcrumbs and flour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pat the chicken dry. Dip the chicken in the olive oil, wiping off the excess oil. Place the chicken in the breadcrumb/flour mixture and thoroughly cover. Shake of excess and place in an oven safe baking dish.  Repeat until all the chicken is breaded.

It’s okay and even preferable for the chicken to fit snugly into the baking dish. Place the sprigs of rosemary on top of the chicken.

Bake for 30 minutes and then turn chicken over. Bake until golden and crisp, about 25 more minutes depending on your oven.

As previously noted, this chicken is the perfect picnic food because it tastes even better cold! Or serve with mashed potatoes and enjoy a lovely Sunday dinner.