Monday, December 20, 2010

Pollo Fritto alla Toscana

Pollo Fritto alla Toscana!

First of all, I realize I really need to change the description of this blog. Seitan, I love you so, but I've been cheating on you with other vegetarian meats ... It began innocently enough, with a little TVP here and a little tofu there, but lately, I must admit, I've been seeing a lot of (gulp) store bought veggie meats. I'm sorry; sometimes, you're just too time-consuming. And sometimes, I'm out of ingredients.

And it happened again last night, again with the Mah Wah veggie chicken legs. I really, really adore those things. They're great barbecued and make absolutely divine Southern fried chicken, both vegan and vegetarian versions. (I made a vegan version for a party some months ago; the meat-eating guests couldn't believe they weren't real chicken!) At some point soon, I'm going to have to try them in a stew. And I will have to ... I've got a freezer in my basement that's full of them. But, yesterday being Sunday, which often means Italian for dinner, I decided to try them fried in a slightly different style, namely Tuscan.

Everyone loves fried chicken, right? It's not a dish we Americans generally associate with Italian cuisine, but maybe we should consider it. There are a few versions I've come across, the main difference being that some use breadcrumbs and others don't. And the main difference between the American and Italian versions seems to be the marinade. And time.

It's time-consuming. Well, in terms of the marinade. If you want something NOW, go for Southern fried chicken (unless, of course, you're one of those people who marinate the chicken in buttermilk overnight ... but seeing as this isn't *real* chicken, you don't need to do that).

But, these were lovely - a nice change and seemed to be a good bit less greasy. And, as I'm currently finding out, just as good served cold for the next day's lunch. Better, actually.

The marinade gives it a light, fresh flavor. I probably should have made these in the summer, something to take to a picnic in the park along with a cannellini bean salad and a bottle of Chianti. But, as I sit here and look out at the trees, bare in the 25 degree weather, I can plan that picnic and enjoy this practice run.

Chicken resting in the marinade ... don't they look creepily like real chicken?


3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T each: minced parsley, oregano, rosemary
2 T minced garlic
1 t kosher salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper


12 May Wah chicken legs or enough seitan for four people
all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 t salt
1/2 t ground white pepper
vegetable oil for frying

Prepare marinade and add chicken. Let it rest, turning pieces regularly, in a large bowl or casserole dish, for at least two hours.

Prepare batter: flour with salt and pepper in one dish, beaten eggs in another. Let excess marinade drip off each piece before adding it to first the flour, then shake off the excess and dip the piece in the egg. Meanwhile, allow oil to come to temperature (about 350) in a large frying pan - you'll want about a 1/2 inch depth. Carefully add the pieces to the hot oil, cooking for a few minutes on each side. Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil and serve.


  1. Wow. Those are completely creepy...and I must try them. Do they taste similar to quorn chicken?

  2. They are disturbingly realistic ... wait till you see the inside. Check out last July's blog archive to see a picture - southern fried "chicken" in all its glory!

    They don't really taste very much like Quorn to me ... I think they're a lot better. They have more flavor and the texture is better, much less dense. Try them!

  3. I'm so scared that there are fake bones on the inside. Must go to vegan shop and get these. Thanks!