Thursday, April 8, 2010
Coconut Crusted Chicken
A few months ago, I took my husband to Key Largo for a surprise 40th birthday trip. Coming from chilly, snow-covered New England, I didn't care that the temperatures were "below normal" - hey, if 65 in February is below normal, you are still incredibly lucky. We rented a house on a canal where we cooked out a lot, drank wine by the water and watched the fish jump and birds fly. Every day, we did something outdoorsy (snorkeling, swimming, boat trips) and went somewhere on the waterfront for either lunch or dinner.
Now, it's a tourism economy down there, so there are lots and lots of restaurants ... some good, some bad, all serving variations on a theme: lots of seafood, a good measure of steakiness, some chicken for those boring "I'll just have the chicken" people, and (laud!) an assortment of vegetarian dishes, oddly seemingly all based around eggplants. I love eggplant; I just don't associate it with the Florida Keys. Anyway.
The weather here is getting warmer, and it makes me long for real heat. I hate that, even though it is a good deal warmer than, say, two months ago, I still have to wear jeans and a sweater. Tonight's low is supposed to be 26, for goodness sakes. I want summer! And so I find myself wanting hot weather foodies, as if I can conjure up some 85 degree afternoons just by cooking. I find myself wanting to be back in Key Largo, sipping champagne by the canal.
I decided to try my weather conjuring skills out on coconut crusted chicken. I mixed together orange juice, coconut milk and egg whites in one bowl, sweetened grated coconut, breadcrumbs and spices in another. I double dipped the chicken seitan in each and baked it for about twenty minutes, during which time I made a sauce of apricot preserves, sriracha, and Dijon mustard. Sweet potato fries (yes, from frozen) and coleslaw on the side completed the meal.
Coconut crusted chicken is definitely a keeper, plus it turned out to be delicious cold, too! Sadly, while the coconut chicken is good, my weather working skills obviously aren't, but I suppose I'll just have to keep trying.