For years I made it a kind of hobby to ask cookbook authors and recipe contest winners how they came up with their recipes. Since I don’t invent recipes myself, the people who create the real winners seem to me as mysterious and impressive as someone who composes a hit song or writes a best selling novel.
My favorite example of this is Marge Fortier, who won the $10,000 Grand Prize at the National Chicken Cooking Contest. She didn’t do any tinkering, tasting, and adjusting the way most of us would. No, the complete idea for her recipe for Chicken Avocado Melt came to her seemingly out of nowhere. “I was vacuuming the living room,” she told me, “when all of a sudden, I don’t know how, the complete idea for the finished recipe just came to me. She grabbed a pencil and jotted down the entire recipe on the notepad that she always keeps handy$and won $10,000. Her recipe calls for chicken breast halves, but you can simplify things a little if you use
thin sliced boneless roaster breast pieces instead.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves or 1 thin sliced boneless roaster breast
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 ripe avocado, peeled, sliced
1-1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream, divided
1/4 cup sliced scallion greens
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
Preheat oven to 350oF. Pound the chicken to 1/4″ thickness. If using thin sliced breast, skip the previous step. In a shallow bowl, mix the cornstarch, cumin, garlic, and salt. In another bowl mix egg and water. Place cornmeal in a third small bowl. Coat chicken first with the cornstarch mixture, then with the egg, and finally with the cornmeal. (Marge Fortier says, “I always use cornstarch because it comes out thinner than flour”.)
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add chicken and saute for two minutes on each side “to firm up the crust”, then remove pieces to a shallow baking pan. Before putting cutlets in oven, top them with avocado slices and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Top each chicken breast with sour cream and a sprinkling of scallions
and red pepper. Garnish with cherry tomato halves and parsley.
Chicken Recipes – The Perdue Chicken Cookbook
Copyright (C) by Mitzi Perdue – Used with Permission