I was out dining with poet/playwright/shyster lawyer friend the other night, at a pretty decent Indian place out at the airport-mall part of town, when nine words came rolling off of her raita-coated tongue that honest-to-God surprised me.
"I cook things from your blog all the time," she said sipping on a giant bottle of Kingfisher. "Why does that surprise you so much? It is a food blog, you know!"
It is at times such as these that I am reminded why I enjoy the kind and thoughtful poet/playwright side to this friend so much better than the in-your-face, facts-obsessed shyster lawyer from Jersey side.
"Uh," I stammered as if under cross in the Newark courthouse my companion once terrorized. "I guess... I mean... Well... You see..."
"Get a grip, would you," she objected. "I didn't mean to put you under so much pressure. Forget I said anything... Are you going to eat that nan?"
Just as she was reaching for the table's last morsel of bread our waitress delivered the Bengan Bharta (roasted eggplant) that I had suggested we order.
"I just made your eggplant parm the other night, you know," my friend offered. "It was delicious. Might have been better if I hadn't burned the eggplant, but still..."
I wish that I had said right then that her mistake was in waiting for the eggplant slices to brown on the topside instead of on the bottom. But I was too flummoxed. A person (of some accomplishment, mind you) had actually decided to plan and prepare a meal based upon my instructions. I didn't think people did that. Really. I didn't. I figured they only looked at the pictures and moved along.
I decided this would be a multiple-beverage kind of evening and ordered not one but two more Bass Ales to go along with the eggplant and the newly prepared breads being placed on the table.
This may be a good time for me to mention that none of this has anything to do with the chicken dish you see that I have prepared here.
It's chicken breast. Come on. What possible kind of story might I have woven around that?
Don't get me wrong, it's a really good dish, I like it a lot. Go ahead and try it if you want, you'll probably like it too. The reason it's here, though, is because of this friend that I've been telling you about. "Hey," were her exact words, should you have wondered, "you happen to have a recipe for chicken breasts? A recipe that isn't so boring that I'd rather blow out the right side of my left brain than have to make it, let alone eat it?"
I mentioned that she was a poet, right?
Anyway, I promised that I would get a good recipe off to her pronto, and so here we are at the intersection of Shyster Jersey Lawyer and Oven-Fried Romano Chicken. A circuitous route to a rather simple destination, I'll admit.
But I ask you, had I been yapping all this while about a couple chicken breasts that you stick inside the oven, would you still be here?
Okay, so what you have here is grated Romano cheese, freshly prepared bread crumbs, and seasonings (chopped garlic, rosemary, a hot pepper, salt and black pepper), which gets mixed together.
You take your boring chicken breast and give it a roll in the cheese-and-breadcrumb mix.
Give that a quick dip in egg before it goes back for a second roll in the cheese and breadcrumbs.
Line up the breasts in a roasting pan and into the (preheated to 350 F) oven they go.
About half an hour later you've got yourself a very nice-tasting hunk of white meat that I assure you will not inspire you to raise a firearm to your head.