We don’t always communicate so well.
Last week, when putting together a meal plan, we were just about at the end of our rope. Husband and I were both uninspired, tired, and not finding good answers in cookbooks. He said, “chicken. We can get some chicken and do something with it.”
“Polenta!” I said. “Almond chicken with polenta and tomatoes?” I envisioned chicken dripping in a creamy almond tomato sauce smothered over polenta with a bit of something green and wrote the meal idea down on the white board.
Later in the week, we were low on milk, but had bought more yoghurt when we didn’t need to. “We can just use the yoghurt with the almond chicken,” I said. Husband nodded.
Yesterday was the big day of almond chicken and polenta for dinner. I had spent the afternoon downstairs in the lounge writing yet another paper on the advantages and disadvantages of filing a partnership vs. an S-Corporation and thinking about dinner. Creamy chicken over creamy polenta served with some green stuff. Yum!
And even better, I could smell dinner from the hallway when I came back upstairs. Chicken and almonds. Any other passers-by would be jealous of the smells that came out of my apartment. The smells I would get to eat momentarily.
But husband’s vision wasn’t mine.
Instead of polenta with chicken resting on it smothered in creamy almond goodness, the table boasted a bowl of coleslaw and the chicken was just emerging from the oven, encased in what had become toasted nuts when I came back upstairs. Though it wasn’t what I was expecting, I have to say, KFC, I’ll never want you again! Husband had interpreted the almond chicken to be chicken crusted in almonds and hazlenuts (the nuts we happened to have on hand) as if it was fried, with coleslaw and the polenta instead of the cornbread. His Southern roots shone through, and in such a fantastic and unexpected manner. The chicken was moist and crunchy. The two nuts added a level of complexity no breading could ever reach. And his coleslaw is never anything to scoff at. He respects my hatred of mayonaise and gets creative. This one just used a bit of high-quality mustard, salt, pepper, and paprika.
No pictures this on this one. I was too excited to eat! Updated, with pictures. When I first wrote this, I forgot the sesame seeds. These really bring quite a lot of flavor to the party.
Almond & Hazlenut Sesame Crusted Chicken
- 3/4 cup almonds
- 3/4 cup hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- Teaspon paprika
- Teaspoon salt
- 2 Eggs, separated
- 5 boneless, skinless free-range chicken thighs
Crush the nuts (we use a food processor) into a course meal. Add the paprika, salt. Transfer to a bowl for dredging
Separate the eggs. You’ll just need the whites for this. We saved the yolks for a custard that went into a bread pudding.
Dredge the chicken in the whites, then the nut meal. Make sure the chicken has a thick coating of the nuts.
Saute in a cast-iron skillet 2 minutes each side.
Finish in a 350 degree oven, 10 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.
Simple, Fresh Coleslaw
- 1/2 head cabbage
- 1 carrot
- 3 Tablespoons mustard
- 1/2 Teaspoon paprika
Shred the cabbage and carrot. You can add other vegetables, use multiple colors of cabbage, or change the ratios for different flavors. Add the mustard, salt, and paprika. Stir well. Allow to sit for 20 minutes or so so the cabbage softens.
Use your favorite polenta recipe to stir up some course-ground corn meal with water over heat until it comes together into a pudding like texture. Stir in butter. For more flavor, use chicken stock, milk, cream, half-and-half, or other liquid.
What do you like to add to your polenta or coleslaw to make it extra special?