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RBR Tailgating: Chicken Spiedini with Amogio Sauce

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I didn’t know what Spiedini or Amogio meant until a few months ago, but I checked them out and they’re cool for game day.

Twitter is a cesspool. It’s the refuge of the contentless loud, the empty assumers of their own righteousness, the sexually lewd with their vague and incomplete instruction, Nobel Prize winning chemists that think that accolades granted by Azerbaijani oil speculations makes them experts on whether hot dogs are sandwiches, Krugman, B-list celebrities reminding the world that they were in an episode of a Joss Whedon project by complaining about a politician that their d-list publicist presented as safely opposable, a guy that keeps telling me to listen to Morrisey, some twerp in U glasses, and so many people spewing nonsense about college football. I can’t recommend it more vociferously.

It is combat. Lovely humanity stripped of its loveliness and anonymously telling each other that they should probably kill themselves because they wrote “your” when they should have written “you’re.” It is us stripped and laid bare and it is glorious.

There is a less bellicose side to the naked belligerence. I enjoy watching football games and commenting with a large number of you gentle readers. I’m in mind of a missed and astute former contributor a bit to the south – hope you’re dry and safe my friend.

Among the kinder places adrift in the Twitterverse is Twitter Supper Club. To come to the party you need to type the pound sign (the kids call it a hashtag, I think) and then the rest of the words all smashed together. It looks like: #twittersupperclub.

People share recipes, brilliant pictures, and utter disasters. One woman shared a picture of Chicken Spiedini with Amogio Sauce and I had no idea what it was but I’ve been a fan every since I researched it.

The team is not at home this week. By my occasionally broken custom that means that I’m assuming you are making food in the comfort of your kitchen rather than under the shadow of Bryant-Denny. The likely-hood is that you are not at a tailgate with a Weber grill but in the comfort of your well stocked kitchen with all manner of pots and pans and things that claim to peel garlic but really don’t.

If you are at home, this may look complex, but it’s not. There are a number of ingredients and two base recipes but it comes together quickly in stages without a lot of sweat.

First, take a few Roma tomatoes and quarter them, lightly salt, drizzle with olive oil, and roast for at least two hours at 250°. You can do this a day ahead and refrigerate because these will be served cold, hot, at room temp, whatever. They’ll taste great.

Put a stick of butter and a decent amount of olive oil – about the same amount as the butter but don’t stress over the portions, eyeball it and you’ll be fine – in a sauce pan and melt the butter without browning it. If you are worried, when the butter is half melted you can pull the pan from heat and let it melt residually. No browning that way.

I like to do this with chicken cutlets; tenderloins work too. Either way pound them with a meat hammer until they are about a half inch thick. Feel free to make an unholy mess of your kitchen by smashing uncovered chicken and sending bits and oddities of salmonella all over your toaster and vitamin bottles or, and this is really important from my point of view, you can cover the chicken with a zip loc or cling wrap before you beat it like an Uruk-kai on a three day (?) meth bender. It’s the salmonella-wise approach.

Put crushed and chopped garlic in a bowl with chopped flat leaf parsley, bread crumbs, lemon zest, and grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Salt the chicken, dip and coat it in the melted butter and oil, and then press it into the bread/cheese/lemon zest/parsley mix. Next roll it up and spear it on a kebob spear like a roulade with no filling. I do two or three pieces of chicken per kebob spear. Just keep them a few inches from touching each other.

How is this different from scallopini? Milanese? Other than location or local preference I’ve no clue. Italy was a Twitterish bicker of fifty-eleven city states not so long ago and it’s not surprising that a well renowned dish would be claimed by several regions with several names. It would be surprising if it weren’t.

This particular breaded chicken with the same stuff as other versions is distinguished by being rolled up and skewered. Oddly it makes the finished version – assuming you don’t brutalize it with overcooking – juicier. Moister even, if that word is still allowed.

For an event you have the added advantage of raising meat from the surface of the baking sheet. Filets take up space. Rolled filets less so. You can bake more to a rack. This is good for a group.

I set a timer for 18 minutes. I think 20 minutes is generally what you want, but I’m gun-shy on overcooking so I always undershoot and check. 400°. Cut into the biggest piece and see how you are doing. Cook more if needed.

The sauce is even easier. A stick of butter, olive oil, chopped parsley, chopped garlic, red pepper flakes or other spicy pepper, lemon juice, basil if you like, and salt and pepper. There is no process here. You can put it all in a pot and then onto heat. When the butter melts it’s ready.

I serve it over spaghetti with those oven dried tomatoes you might have forgotten about. Ladle sauce over it all. Throw in some arugula if you want color.

This is either from Abruzzi or from Sicily. I would present it as an either or. If you say Sicily someone from Abruzzi will tell you how wrong you are and if you say Abruzzi someone from Sicily will say nothing and you will have to change your name and move to the Midwest asap.

I’m doing something different this year and feedback is not just welcome it’s pleaded for. I don’t want to do measurements for ingredients anymore. I read cookbooks all the time, and I mean I read them, start to finish usually but always with an ear for history and instruction. I’ve given up on measurements. Cookbooks are consistently wrong about such things.

Fannie Farmer wrote The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book in 1896. She pioneered measurements in cookbooks. I know how odd that seems, but before her it was never 2 cups stock to a pinch of salt. It was stock and salt to taste.

She imprinted on a huge publishing category the idea that you should ignore the fact that the author neither had any idea how strong your stock is or how much salt you like. A cup is somehow tied to a teaspoon and also a tablespoon as a perfect relationship. That almost works in baking. Not remotely in cooking.

The only measurement that counts is you and your taste buds. If you doubt yourself, tread lightly. Add a pinch. Taste. Add more if needed.

For the bird: tenderloin or cultlets or even thighs if you think you can pull it off, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, chopped flat leaf parsley, lemon zest, minced garlic, olive oil, unsalted butter.

For the sauce: olive oil, butter, minced garlic, lemon juice, chopped flat leaf parsley, chopped basil if you like, red pepper flakes.

As always and in all things: salt and pepper to taste at every stage.

We should have it pretty easy this weekend. I know it’s not the thing you are supposed to say especially when facing a (preseason) ranked opponent. You shouldn’t Joe Willie the game, but I’m bullish on this Saban guy. I think he has a future. Disagree?

Fine.

But I wouldn’t fight me on Twitter. I’m always inviolate and correct there.