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
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
- shredded Parmesan cheese
- some minced fresh chives
- salt and pepper to taste
To assemble the dish:
- Un-fried Chicken
- browned grit cakes
- some wildflower honey
- Green Tobasco sauce
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!