Last week I turned in the final draft of my book about grocery stores in America, called GROCERY: THE BUYING AND SELLING OF FOOD IN AMERICA. One of the chapters discusses prepared foods in grocery stores, a category that’s growing but which is really hard to make money at if you’re the grocer. The narrative anchor of the book is small chain of stores in Cleveland and Chicago. And one of their most popular prepared dishes is this Chicken Romano. They sell 85,000 pounds of it each year, or about 1,700 pounds a week.

I’d recently been sent some chicken breasts by a company called Butcherbox, a mail-order buisness offering grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and heritage pork. I’ve tried samples of all and the quality is excellent. While I still think that the fat of grass-fed beef is a little gamy, the ground grass-fed beef is fabulous. And their pork chops actually taste like pork.

So because I had the chicken breast, and I’d just finished the grocery book, I thought the Chicken Romano sounded like something to try for a solo meal. I floured and breaded the chicken in the same plastic bag to make clean-up faster. I served it over rice with some blanched broccoli rapini that I reheated in olive oil and with more garlic in the pan I’d cooked the chicken in. A delicious, satisfying meal.

Chicken Romano

  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated romano
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano or parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg beaten in a shallow dish.
  • oil for pan frying
  • 1/2 ounce butter
  1. Salt and pepper the chicken breast and let sit for at least five minutes or up to 2 days.
  2. Combine the panko, romano, oregano or parsley, and cayenne in a bowl and stir to combine, then add the garlic and stir till it’s distributed.
  3. Put the flour in a plastic bag big enough to hold the chicken.
  4. Put the chicken in the bag with the flour. Shake the bag to coat the chicken. Remove the chicken and put it in the eggwash. Discard the flour, keeping the bag. Put the bread crumb mixture in the bag. Turn the chicken in the egg wash till it’s coated, then put the chicken in the bread crumb mixture. Shake it to coat the chicken, pressing the breadcrumbs into the meat.
  5. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a pan just big enough to fit the chicken over medium high heat.
  6. Pan-fry the chicken till it’s golden brown on each side and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side (it shouldn’t give too much resistance to the touch). Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and top with the butter.
  7. Finish the side dishes, and serve.

Yield: 1 serving


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© 2016 Michael Ruhlman. All rights reserved.