Last year, about this time, I sat on a panel at the Schomberg to celebrate my friend, Harlem restaurant owner and chef, Melba Wilson, on her very first cookbook, “Melba’s American Comfort” (Atria Books, 2016). The panel was comprised of all the women who worked on the book—publisher, agent, food stylist, photographer and me, culinary producer and photoshoot art director. There are lots of hard and rewarding work living in that book, and I am proud to have been involved in it.
Perhaps because I tested quite a few of Melba’s recipes for the book, some of her comfort food delights stuck with me such as vegetable spring rolls, honey-ginger salmon and that darn pulled pork shoulder I had to make three times. However, the recipe I tried on one of my weekly SCHOP! clients, a recipe now asked for by name, is the oven-fried chicken.
While I have made my own adjustments to this recipe, I would be doing you a complete disservice if I did not give you the exact recipe as it was published in the book.
6 chicken thighs
6 chicken drumsticks
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Put the chicken in a bowl and season with the poultry seasoning, cayenne and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. In a second bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, the salt and pepper to taste. Combine the milk and mayonnaise in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken pieces in the milk mixture and then in the breadcrumbs.
Lay the breaded chicken in the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. Then turn it over and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until it is done. When done, it should register 165 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer and, when pierced with a fork, the juices run clear. Transfer to paper towels to drain before serving.
Thank you Melba! I appreciate you!
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for more than 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!