Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Sincerest form of Flattery ...

Guy Fieri is a dangerous man. Watch just five minutes of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and you'll see what I mean. He's like the Pied Piper of oh-so-good yet oh-so-bad-for-you foods. He makes you crave. He makes you crave all the wrong things.

Take, for instance, the Pine State Fried Club he featured this week. The invention of the "Biscuit Brothers" at Pine State Biscuits in Portland, OR, this decadent twist on the club sandwich features a trio of fried grit cakes topped with all manner of savory delights. One third of the trio, the fried chicken topped with honey and Green Tobasco, positively caused the husband to swoon. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth as he begged me to recreate the dish for him.

To be fair, it wasn't exactly wailing - more like pleading ... "please, please, please make this for dinner tomorrow night?!" And so I did. But I did it my way ... with a little help from a friend.

Last month, Vickie from Uncommon Artistic Endeavors posted a recipe for baked oatmeal and Parmesan crusted chicken that looked so good I filed it away for future use. I adapted the recipe to suit my needs and used it to recreate Pine State's dish. The results? Spectacular!

Diva's Diner Un-Fried Chicken and Grit Cakes:

For the Chicken:
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. of Emeril's Chicken Rub
  • 1 cup of rolled oats, not quick cook
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup of light buttermilk
  • some olive oil
Combine the whole wheat flour and Emeril's Chicken Rub in a large flat dish. Reserve.

Pour the oats into another large flat dish and rub them between the palms of your hands to break them apart until roughly half the oats are crumbled. Add the shredded Parmesan, cayenne pepper, poultry seasoning, dried thyme and a bit of salt and pepper - stir well to incorporate. Reserve.

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F and pour the buttermilk into a bowl.

Dredge the chicken in the seasoned whole wheat flour, shaking off the excess, then dip the chicken into the buttermilk to coat. Immediately dip the chicken into the oatmeal mixture, coating both sides of the breast evenly. Place the coated chicken onto an oiled rack placed inside of a large baking pan and drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil. Continue until all of the chicken has been coated. Bake in the middle of a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breasts, or until cooked through out.

For the Grit Cakes:
  • some cooked grits
  • butter
  • shredded Parmesan cheese
  • some minced fresh chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook the grits according to package directions. Once cooked, add a bit of butter, some Parmesan cheese, some fresh chives and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the seasoned grits into a small, square baking dish and allow the grits to cool until firm enough to slice. Slice the grits into rectangles and heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high to high heat until hot but not smoking. Add a bit of olive oil to the pan and add the grit cakes. Brown the grit cakes on both sides, adjusting the heat as necessary, until golden brown and hot throughout. Keep warm until ready to serve.

To assemble the dish:
  • Un-fried Chicken
  • browned grit cakes
  • some wildflower honey
  • Green Tobasco sauce
Place a grit cake on a plate and top it with a breast of chicken. Drizzle the chicken with honey and sprinkle on as much Green Tobasco as you can handle. Serve and enjoy - try not to lick the plate!

As written, this recipe will serve 4 very happy people.

In the photo above, you can just see the edge of the grit cake peeking out from under that beautifully crunchy chicken. This meal was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. Or, should I say less? It had all the flavor of a fried dish, without the resulting fat. It was outstanding! So much so that we nearly licked the plate. My stars it was good!

The combination of honey and Green Tobasco is truly inspired. It is a pairing that I know I'll return to again and again. As for the grits, what can I say? From now on, everything at Diva's Diner comes with a side of grits!

Bon appetite!


GarlicBOSS said...

This sounds good

doggybloggy said...

wowzerrooni - you did an excellent job of messing me up - now I want this!

The Duo Dishes said...

This is really awesome. Usually DDD is not a fave show to watch, but this is an interesting dish to feature. It's the sweet honey over chicken and grit cakes that seals the deal. Nice replica!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow, this sounds yummy!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks, GarlicBOSS!

doggy - then we're even, you've been responsible for more than one craving on this end as well! :)

Duo - Really? DDD is my favorite FN show! You're right, the honey is the kicker ... sooo good!

HH - Can you even get grits in the UK?! LOL Thanks!

pixelgal said...

Grits is it? And you're not even southern!!!

Krissy @ The Food Addicts said...

My turn to add a Divalicious Comment! That's great that you jazzed up Guy's recipe with your own unique touches. Nicely done!

Anonymous said...

This sounds awesome! I love the idea of green tabasco sauce & honey with the fried chicken and the grits cakes are a fabulous side!

nora@ffr said...

wow!! vat an excellent idea!! love it!!

Katherine Aucoin said...

You did a fantastic job with this and now you have me craving this!